Right-wing parties form alliance to be led by Shaked

Agreement requires all parties to back Netanyahu for prime minister after September elections.

By
July 30, 2019 02:40
3 minute read.
Ayelet Shaked hosts a goodbye party as she leaves her position as Justice Minister.

Ayelet Shaked hosts a goodbye party as she leaves her position as Justice Minister.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The New Right has signed an agreement for a combined run with Bayit Yehudi and National Union, ending weeks of speculation and days of negotiations.

The name of the new party will likely be The United Right, although this has not yet been finalized.

According to the deal, New Right leader Ayelet Shaked will take the No. 1 place on the joint list, Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz will be No. 2, National Union leader Betzalel Smotrich will be No. 3, and New Right co-founder Naftali Bennett will be No. 4.

Bayit Yehudi and National Union will receive nine of the remaining top 20 spots, and New Right will receive seven.

The deal requires that all parties remain together in the coalition negotiations period after the election, and that all three parties recommend to President Reuven Rivlin that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be tasked with forming the next government.

This was reportedly a crucial demand of Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz, and proved to be a sticking point in the negotiations with Shaked and Bennett.

Bennett has repeatedly declined to say explicitly if New Right would recommend Netanyahu. Even on Monday night following the agreement, he formulated his description of this clause by saying that United Right would likely recommend Netanyahu “because he will probably be the head of the right-wing bloc.”

In addition, the agreement stipulates that should any further unity deals be finalized with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party or Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party, candidates on the list from Bayit Yehudi and National Union will have to drop down one place on the list, but not those of New Right.

The deal specifies that if Otzma were to join, its leading candidate Itamar Ben-Gvir would be given the eighth spot on the joint list. Ben-Gvir has demanded the No. 5 spot, and described the eight place as “an insult.”

The agreement also stipulates that under any agreement, New Right’s candidates in the top 10 will not be bumped from their slots.

In a statement to the media, New Right said that representatives of other right-wing parties that might join would have to be given reserved slots on the Likud party list, although sources in National Union said that there is still a possibility such candidates could be added to the merged United Right list.

The Likud party released a statement immediately saying that “there will be no more people added to the Likud list, given the absorption of (Moshe) Kahlon’s (Kulanu) party into Likud.”

Additionally, the agreement says that the combined party will demand legislation for a “Norwegian” law that will allow up to four ministers and deputy ministers to resign as MKs to be replaced by candidates further down the electoral list.

Ben-Gvir rejected any notion of getting a reserved spot on the Likud list, and insisted that his party would be signing its own unity deal with the new, equally far-right, and anti-LGBT Noam party later on Monday night.

Smotrich said that he had expected Likud to welcome the unified Right agreement because it had saved at least four Knesset seats for the right-wing, given the amount of votes cast for New Right that were wasted in the last election since the party did not cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.

He said that the parties of United Right had shown responsibility in this regard, and called on Ben-Gvir to do the same.

Ben-Gvir retorted that Bayit Yehudi and National Union had “used and discarded” Otzma in the last election, since they failed to fulfil promises made when the three parties first united.
“Now he is offering to put an Otzma representative in eighth place, a totally insulting number,” fumed Ben-Gvir, adding that Smotrich had fought to have another National Union representative placed ahead of him.

“Someone who is concerned for the fate of the Land of Israel doesn’t behave in this way,” said Ben-Gvir, vowing that there would now be two blocs of parties on the Right – “one that represents the conservative religious-Zionist movement,” meaning Otzma and Noam, “and one that represents the liberal wing,” meaning United Right.


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