Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday warned the leaders of the smaller right-wing parties that unless they join forces ahead of the country’s March 2 elections, the right-wing bloc may fail.

“The right will not forgive [Defense Minister Naftali] Bennett, [Transportation Minister Bezalel] Smotrich and [Education Minister Rabbi Rafi] Peretz if they do not unite into a single list,” Netanyahu tweeted. “Two lists may fall below the electoral threshold and lead to the rise of a leftist government.”

Bennett’s New Right, Smotrich’s National Union and Peretz’s Jewish Home parties ran in a unified bloc prior to the September elections, with the far-right Otzma Yehudit backing away due to disagreements regarding the positions of the seats they were offered in the intermingled party list.

However, Peretz recently signed a pact to run with Otzma Yehudit without consulting Smotrich or members of his own party, leading to outrage among his former running mates and discussions between Bennett and Smotrich as to a possible merger.

Recent polls have shown that for now, of the parties in question, only New Right is slated to pass the threshold and enter the next Knesset.

“We appreciate Netanyahu’s concern,” the New Right responded to Netanyahu’s missive. “We will continue our work of bringing votes from the Blue and White and [Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor] Lieberman, for the sake of creating a strong and secure right-wing government for the citizens of Israel.”

The Jewish Home said in response to Netanyahu’s warning that “the Jewish Home calls on Bennett and Smotrich to come and unite with us in one large Jewish Home Party,” adding, “from there you came, and to there you should return.”

Right-wing voters, said Jewish Home, wanted unity and would punish parties that appeared not to.

“Past experience has shown us that our constituents do not like splits and punish us for them. The upcoming elections are crucial for the entire right-wing camp, and we must not make light of the issue,” it said.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.