Yaalon (1950) was born into a working-class family affiliated with the Labour Party, and grew up on a left-leaning settlement. The combination of a distinguished military career, promises of tackling the real issues in Israeli society, support of officers who speak their mind and Netanyahu’s waning popularity will prove to be a successful formula for Yaalon’s attempt to win the next election.
Ksenia Svetlova, a Russian-born immigrant to Israel, studied Middle Eastern History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and went on to become a respected Arab affairs correspondent for a number of international media. She opposes religious coercion and endorses progressive denominations of Judaism. She does not subscribe to the non-egalitarian nature of Jewish orthodoxy in Israel, and believes that people should be able to choose a pluralistic form of religion.
In the 2013 elections, Bennett’s strategy succeeded. Bayit Yehudi increased its representation in the Knesset to twelve seats, up from four seats previously (or seven seats, if we include three from another religious party, some of whose elements Bennett took in). Heading into the 2015 campaign, Bayit Yehudi looked set to increase its representation still further.