(August 1, 2019 / JNS) The Zehut Party submitted its slate for the Sept. 17 elections on Wednesday, ending speculation that the nationalist, quasi-libertarian party would merge with the United Right.
Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut had been in talks with the New Right Party, led by Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, but announced it would be running independently after it was publicized that New Right had joined with the Union of Right Wing Parties to form the United Right list.
Feiglin, who generated a lot of buzz as a candidate to watch prior to the April 9 election, said he would recommend “whoever is chosen to lead the national camp” as prime minister if his party passes the minimum vote threshold to enter the Knesset.
However, Zehut failed to reach that mark in April, and a Channel 12 poll has predicted the party will again fall short in September. According to a Channel 13 poll last week, the party would garner enough votes to make it into the Knesset.
Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party filed its slate prior to Zehut, while the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party announced it had struck a deal with the new Noam Party, which emphasizes traditional, conservative values and a pushback against the LGBT movement and political correctness.
Otzma ran with the URWP in April, but accused list leader Rafi Peretz of failing to honor the terms of their electoral agreement.
Nonetheless, leaders met with United Right heads to discuss the possibility of Otzma’s inclusion in slots eight and 13 on the United Right list. Otzma rejected the offer, though leader Itamar Ben-Gvir told Channel 12 news that “Ayelet Shaked really wants me in the union, but someone is pressuring her to keep me out.”
For now, a Channel 12 poll has predicted that the Otzma-Noam partnership will not win enough votes to enter the Knesset.
The Labor Party’s central committee on Wednesday night approved a merger with Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Gesher Party, confirming that no other agreements would be made and putting to rest left-wing hopes that the new Democratic Camp—comprised of Meretz, Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party and former Labor MK Stav Shaffir—would join forces with it.
All parties have until 10 p.m. on Thursday to submit their lists or be ineligible to run in the upcoming elections.