Ayelet Shaked .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Both sides reported “significant progress” following a meeting on Wednesday between Bayit Yehudi leader Rafi Peretz and his predecessor Naftali Bennett, where a joint run of the Bayit Yehudi, National Union and New Right parties was advanced.
Bennett spoke at the meeting on behalf of Ayelet Shaked, and Peretz spoke on behalf of National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich. Peretz is keen on keeping the top slot on the list. Bennett asked for Shaked to head the list and the fourth slot for himself.
Shaked told Army Radio on Wednesday that she would make a decision about her political future in “the next few days.”
She expressed pride in the interview that she had never been the victim of gender discrimination in Israeli politics, noting that she was the only woman in the security cabinet and that the religious public voted her to the top slot in the primary of a religious party.
Her options remain running with Bennett, Bayit Yehudi and the National Union, or forming a smaller bond with New Right and Zehut. Zehut Party leader Moshe Feiglin agreed to take the No. 2 slot on a joint list with New Right, his aides said on Wednesday.
Feiglin had until now demanded an open primary to determine who would lead any such union, but backed down from his ultimatum.
The Zehut leader is also willing to let Bennett or Shaked have first choice on any ministerial positions that the joint list would command, although is insisting that Zehut get the second and third slots on the electoral list.
In the last election, the two parties combined won some 260,000 votes, which is worth over seven Knesset seats. Neither party, however, made it over the electoral threshold.
Separately, far-right party Otzma Yehudit said that it would only unite on a broad electoral list with Bayit Yehudi and National Union on a “fair and appropriate” basis, following Tuesday’s announcement that those two parties had signed their own agreement to run on a joint list.
All three parties ran together as the Union of Right-Wing Parties in the last election, but Otzma has claimed that Bayit Yehudi in particular has failed to implement several clauses of the agreement, accusing it of having “used and discarded” the ultra-nationalist party.
Otzma Knesset candidate Itamar Ben-Gvir even went so far as to warn Bayit Yehudi and National Union that they legally could not use the name Union of Right-Wing Parties without Otzma formally joining.
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