NAFTALI BENNETT and Ayelet Shaked: What needs to be done is to shake up the spirit of the security establishment.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Naftali Bennett’s New Right Party prefers to establish two blocs of right-wing parties to the right of the Likud over forming one big list, party candidate Col. (res.) Matan Kahana has said.
He also asserted that the party was setting out on its new election campaign without Bennett’s one-time ally Ayelet Shaked, but that she was welcome to join – and could even be party leader – if it was in the best interest of the party.
Kahana’s comments come following a convention of some 160 New Right senior members Wednesday night in Tel Mond, where Bennett gave an address. Shaked was not present at the meeting.
Five parties to the right of the Likud ran in the last elections, with the more socially liberal parties New Right and Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut both failing to cross the electoral threshold, meaning that some 260,000 right-wing votes were lost.
Bayit Yehudi, National Union and the far-right Otzma Yehudit parties ran on a joint slate called the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP), which earned five seats with 159,000 votes.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Kahana, who was at the Wednesday night convention, said that New Right had commissioned “in-depth research” on public opinion, and that the research demonstrated that one big right-wing party would scare away both secular and religiously conservative voters.
“One big right-wing party to the right of Likud will decrease the size of the right-wing bloc, because if we are all together, the secular [right-wing] voters will not want to vote for a very ‘hardal’ [religiously conservative] party, and the religious-conservative voters won’t want to vote for a party with secular characteristics,” he continued.
“Therefore, as we understand the political map, it seems that the right thing for us to do is that there be two blocs to the right of the Likud: one of the [religiously-conservative] ‘hardali’ parties, and another bloc of the right-wing, religious, secular and liberal parties.”
Asked if that meant New Right and Zehut would run together on a joint list, Kahana said: “correct.”
He added, however, that all constellations were still “a possibility” and that nothing was being ruled out yet. And he said that New Right has not yet seriously engaged in negotiations with any party.
The Post understands, however, that there have already been contacts between New Right and Zehut about the possibility of a joint run.
Regarding the possible return of Shaked to New Right, Kahana said: “We are starting this campaign headed by Naftali Bennett; if Ayelet wants to join, then she’s welcome.”
Asked if this meant Bennett had to lead the party, Kahana said that if Shaked does return, it would be possible for either her or Bennett to lead the party.
“If Ayelet joins, they [Bennett and Shaked] will do what’s best for the party.”
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