No unity deal on right-wing as New Right balks at explicitly backing Bibi

New Right candidate: We won’t back new elections if Netanyahu can’t form a gov't

By
July 29, 2019 10:23
2 minute read.
New Right's Ayelet Shaked and Bayit Yehudi's Rafi Peretz

New Right's Ayelet Shaked and Bayit Yehudi's Rafi Peretz. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST AND BAYIT YEHUDI)

An agreement for New Right to unite with the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) has still not materialized despite significant progress on Sunday and a late night meeting between senior party officials into the night.

On Sunday, Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz said he would give up his No. 1 spot heading the joint party list in favor of New Right leader Ayelet Shaked, while Shaked had previously compromised on her demands for half of all slots on the list.

One of the last stumbling blocks to a deal is Peretz’s insistence that New Right explicitly commit to recommending to the president that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu form the next government after the September elections.

Shaked and party co-founder Naftali Bennett have both balked at this demand. Indeed, in a recent interview, Bennett declined on several occasions to explicitly back Netanyahu, saying his party would represent a right-wing candidate with the best chances of forming a right wing government.

There is much underlying animosity between Bennett and Netanyahu, with the latter having allegedly worked recently to block any unity deal between New Right and URP.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post Monday morning, Matan Kahana, a candidate for the New Right Party, said that there was “a very, very high probability” that New Right would recommend Netanyahu, and that he did not see anyone else who might be able to form a right-wing government.

But he insisted, as Bennett did on Sunday, that New Right would not allow a new round of elections after September if Netanyahu is unable to form a government.

“If the consequences are that [Benjamin] Netanyahu, for whatever reason, won’t succeed in forming a right-wing government, then we will examine our next steps,” he said.

Recent polls have consistently shown there will not be 61 MKs on the right wing without Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, which has vowed not to join a narrow right-wing government, meaning that blocking new elections could seriously endanger Netanyahu’s political future.

When this was pointed out to Kahana, he said simply that it demonstrated the need for the right-wing to work harder to attract more votes.

Further, he called out the Likud, and implicitly Netanyahu himself, for their meddling in the efforts to unite New Right with the rest of the URP.

In audio recordings of Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz’s wife Michal broadcast on Sunday night by Channel 12 News, she was heard describing how Netanyahu and his wife Sara were trying to prevent New Right leader Ayelet Shaked from becoming head of the URP and forming the union altogether.

“I recommend especially to the Likud, instead of fighting against the union of parties that is being formed to the right of Likud, to instead invest their efforts in trying to get votes back from Liberman, so that Liberman’s [party] is as small as possible,” said Kahana.

Asked if Netanyahu’s political efforts fighting against New Right concerned him and the party, Kahana said diplomatically that “I don’t quite understand his interests,” and that the prime minister’s campaign in the last elections to suck up all the right-wing votes to the detriment of other right-wing parties – such as New Right who failed to pass the electoral threshold – was the reason why he was ultimately unable to form a government.


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