Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman postponed his decision on whether Yisrael Beytenu will run on its own in the next election, his associates said following a meeting Liberman had with activists at his party’s Jerusalem headquarters Tuesday night.
Liberman decided it would be unwise to determine the party’s future before key Knesset votes on electoral reforms, the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) conscription bill and the Likud’s March 23 convention.
Yisrael Beytenu’s future is expected to be set at the party’s next central committee meeting on April 2.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon intends to propose blocking a merger with Yisrael Beytenu at the Likud convention. His agenda for the convention passed in a meeting of the Likud’s law committee Tuesday.
Polls have indicated that both Likud and Yisrael Beytenu will receive significantly more seats in the next Knesset if they run apart.
A Likud source said the two parties could decide to reunite their factions after the election or Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could try to engineer a political maneuver to keep the parties together at the last minute before the race.
A top Likud activist said a decision by Yisrael Beytenu to run on its own would be a sign that Liberman lacked the courage to try to bring his party’s thousands of members into Likud and take over the party democratically.
But Yisrael Beytenu officials said that if the party ran alone it would be because the bond had not proved itself and the parties would fare better on their own.