A group of religious parties in Israel announced Monday that they would run together in the upcoming parliamentary elections, the same day four Arab political parties formalized a merger of their own.
The United Right, headed by former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, is the third political alliance formed in recent days ahead of this week’s deadline to finalize party lineups for the September 17 vote. It is expected to back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should he be tasked with forming a government, potentially helping him to secure a fourth consecutive term in office.
In a big change of heart, Peretz has decided to step down and permit Shaked to head a combined list. It has been reported numerous times that Shaked has very high electoral popularity and polls involving the dati leumi community favor her as heading the dati leumi camp.
It appears the dati leumi party is less concerned with the opinion of prominent poskim, who ruled she should not head the party, as the position should be given to a person who is Shomer Shabbos.
Shaked, who assumed the leadership of her New Right party last week, will also head the newly formed United Right, a constellation of religious nationalist parties.
“Weeks of efforts bore fruit today. We united right wing parties for a joint run,” Shaked wrote on Twitter. Her New Right party failed to garner sufficient votes to enter the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in April’s elections.
They agreed to negotiate with PM Netanyahu towards the establishment of a new right-wing coalition. They also agreed that efforts would continue to bring in Otzma Yehudit, based on the clauses agreed to in the last election, as well as implementing the Norwegian Law – that persons appointed to ministerial positions resign from Knesset to permit others on the list to enter Knesset.
The lineup of the first 10 slots on the list as follows:
1. Ayelet Shaked
2. Rafi Peretz
3. Betzalel Smotrich
4. Naftali Bennet
7. New Right
9. New Right
The following occurred prior to the announced agreement between the parties:
Interestingly, MK Yair Lapid, the number two man in the Blue & White lineup, has expressed harsh criticism over a right-wing union. “The fact that Bennet and Shaked plan to sign agreement with the Kahanists is most troubling. One does not give up on one’s basic values for mandates. Another fact is that once again we see Bibi has failed. This has become his norm. the magic is gone” he tweeted.
On Monday morning, Lapid stated “We may not permit Kahanists to enter just because Netanyahu is afraid of jail. The URWP has not yet been implemented and there is still time. I call on Naftali Bennet and Ayelet Shaked and Rabbi Peretz – do not bring in the Kahanists”.
Speaking to Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) on Monday morning, Zehut party chairman, Moshe Feiglin added his party intends to compete in the election for 22nd Knesset, despite the fact he has not succeeded in uniting with another party. He failed to earn enough votes to enter Knesset in the last election. Feiglin used the interview to blame Shaked, stating he was more than willing to enter into agreement with the New Right party.
Feiglin claims that Shaked did not even contact him, despite his efforts to reach out towards uniting, brazenly stating “despite the fact I brought more votes than Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennet”.
When asked if he is afraid of wasting votes in the election, Feiglin responded, “The only ones that did not waste votes are those who voted Zehut”.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)