(February 12, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s advisers are holding talks with the head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party to try to find a way for Otzma to pass the electoral threshold in Israel’s March 2 election.
Having realized that there was no chance of convincing Otzma leader Itamar Ben-Gvir to give up his election bid, Netanyahu and his advisers decided instead to try to guarantee the party gets into the Knesset, reasoning that this would increase the chances of a right-wing majority coalition being formed after the election, according to Ynet.
In Israel’s September 2019 elections, Otzma received 84,000 votes, a significant number though not sufficient to get the party over the 3.25 percent threshold to enter the Knesset.
Among the options being discussed, according to the report, is a request by Ben-Gvir for Netanyahu to ask senior rabbis in the religious-Zionist movement to express public support for Otzma Yehudit’s success in the upcoming elections.
Another option reportedly under consideration is for Netanyahu to request that the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party secure the necessary votes; many ultra-Orthodox voters tend to cast their ballots in accordance with instructions from their rabbis.
In return, Netanyahu’s advisers asked that Otzma Yehudit not run in a possible fourth election, if one is held, unless they succeed in entering the Knesset following the March 2 election, according to the report.
Ben-Gvir has not responded yet to this condition, according to Ynet.
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