Otzma Yehudit threatens to run with anti-LGBT Noam Party

Far-right Otmza says deal will be signed in 36 hours unless Union of Right-Wing Parties gives it ‘real representation’ on its list

July 30, 2019 02:21
2 minute read.
Otzma Yehudit

An ad for the Otzma Yehudit party with Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Bentzi Gopstein on a bus in Jerusalem, March, 2019. (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)

The far-right party Otzma Yehudit has announced that it intends to form a political union with the new anti-LGBT, hard-line religious-Zionist party Noam.

Senior Otzma leader Itamar Ben-Gvir said that the deal had not yet been finalized and would be signed in 36 hours.

On Monday afternoon, Ben-Gvir said that party would sign the deal Monday night although a location and exact timing were not relayed.

The announcement is essentially a negotiating tactic for Otzma, which has been frozen out of unity talks between New Right, Bayit Yehudi and National Union.

Leaders of those parties are unwilling to offer the No. 4 or No. 5 spots on a combined list that Otzma is demanding, and, according to Ben-Gvir, have not been in contact him for negotiations over the last 10 days.

The threat of an imminent deal with Noam seems designed to force the hand of the bigger parties to bring Otzma into the right-wing union under the terms it has demanded.

“I did want to do a big unity deal with all the right-wing because a big bloc will stop the establishment of a left-wing government and could bring many more MKs [to the Right],” Ben-Gvir said on Monday morning on KAN Radio.

“But there are those who want Otzma’s voters and to use us and throw us away,” he continued. He added that National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich “has gone to Bayit Yehudi officials one after the other and said ‘don’t worry about Otzma, I’ll force them to reduce their demands, we’ll get their votes and not give them real representation.’”

With New Right, Bayit Yehudi and National Union all saying they want to bring in Otzma after completing a deal together, several senior politicians on the Left blasted the notion of bringing in the far-right party to the broader political union, as happened in the April elections.

“The Kahanists are not legitimate people,” Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid tweeted on Monday morning of Otzma, in reference to their political mentor Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose extremist Kach Party was banned from running in elections for being racist.

“Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, don’t bring them into the union,” he continued. “These are not legitimate positions. You cannot bring them in just because [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is afraid of jail. They should not be in the Knesset of Israel.”

Lapid’s fellow Blue and White co-leader, Benny Gantz, alluded to Netanyahu’s encouragement of the right-wing religious parties to add Otzma to their political union, tweeting that another step was being taken to establish an “immunity government,” a reference to potential moves by the prime minister to advance immunity for himself from prosecution for the criminal investigations into his alleged corruption.

“The next stage in the alliance of extremists that is being established under the auspices of Netanyahu is to add the Kahanists who want to create a monarchy for him," Gantz tweeted. "Today the choice is clear - a unity government and broad national, democratic agreement headed by Blue and White of an extremist, immunity government.”

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