On Tuesday evening, after the party lists were submitted to the Central Elections Committee, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Defense Minister Naftali Bennett that if he runs on a separate list without bringing full unity to the Right-Wing parties of the New Right, National Union, Jewish Home, and Otzma Yehudit, then there is a reasonable chance that he will not be able to continue as Defense Minister. The threat was reported by Channel 12 News.
According to the report, there was some misunderstanding between the Netanyahu and Bennett according to sources close to both, whereas Bennett felt that this was a direct threat addressed to him, sources close to the Prime Minister said that it was not a threat but rather a situation analysis.
The report also stated that there was a similar threat given to Transport Minister Betzalel Smotrich. The two men, Smotrich and Bennett eventually decided to run together on a joint list, but left Rafi Peretz and the Jewish Home party alone with Itamar Ben Gvir and the Otzma Yehudit party to run together.
The New Right and National Union Parties issued a statement this evening calling on Rabbi Peretz and the Jewish Home Party to join their list.
“We have called and we continue to call on Jewish Home and Rabbi Rafi Peretz to join one victorious party. No vote should be wasted,” they added.
Earlier in the day, the Likud issued a formal call on all right-wing parties to include the Otzma Yehudit Party in the list.
“The Left unites; they aren’t going to lose any votes. Now the Right must do everything to avoid wasting votes,” the statement said.
Continuing to accuse Bennett for the lack of a government the statement continued, “Unfortunately, Bennett wasted votes in the April election, and in the last election he pushed Otzma out of his party, so we couldn’t form a Rightist government.
“As Orly Levy found herself in the same party with Tamar Zandberg of Meretz, and as in the Joint Arab List they joined Islamists and Communists, Bennett has the responsibility to formulate a technical block to save all Right-leaning votes. Bennett, show responsibility,” the Likud concluded.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)