(January 14, 2020 / JNS) Israel’s New Right and National Union parties announced on Tuesday that they will be running together in the country’s March 2 elections.
The two parties also called on the Jewish Home Party to join them, according to a report in Arutz Sheva. Talks between National Union head Bezalel Smotrich and Jewish Home head Rafi Peretz broke down on Monday night.
According to the terms of the deal, New Right leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked will take the first and second slots on the list, respectively, followed by National Union leader Smotrich, according to the report. National Union will also get the fourth spot, for Knesset member Ofir Soffer, while the New Right will get the fifth and sixth spots.
The deal leaves an opening for the Jewish Home with the second and eight slots.
“We have reunited the family. We’ve made a large alliance in the ideological right and in Religious Zionism—from the traditional [non-Orthodox] to the haredi Zionists, from the knitted kipahs to those without kipahs, from Tel Aviv to Kedumim,” said Bennett.
“I call on my friend, [Jewish Home leader] Rabbi Rafi Peretz, to join us immediately to form a single united party, for the victory of the national camp,” he added.
However, Bennett noted that the invitation did not extend to the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party, which has a unity agreement with Jewish Home.
“No way will we run with [Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar] Ben-Gvir. This would color religious Zionism in Kahanist colors and cause damage for generations,” said Bennett, according to Ynet.
According to Israel’s Channel 13, New Right Knesset member Matan Kahane told Bennett that he would leave the party if Bennett agreed to a joint run with Otzma Yehudit.
“If [Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar] Ben-Gvir is in, I’m going home,” said Kahane according to the report.
For its part, the United Jewish Home-Otzma Yehudit alliance harshly criticized the unity deal, the Times of Israel reported.
“The true face of Bezalel Smotrich and Naftali Bennett has been exposed—the shattering of religious Zionism,” the party said in a statement, according to the report. The party went on to accuse New Right and National Union of having “hurt the entire right-wing camp.”
All alliances for the upcoming elections must be finalized by Wednesday night.
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