Peretz concedes top spot on joint list to Shaked

Recordings of Peretz’s wife confirm Netanyahu tried to stymie Shaked from heading joint list

July 28, 2019 22:32
2 minute read.
Peretz concedes top spot on joint list to Shaked

Ayelet Shaked and Rafi Peretz. (photo credit: REUTERS & AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz publicly conceded the top spot on a unified electoral list with the New Right to party leader Ayelet Shaked on Sunday evening, with a full agreement expected to be reached late Sunday night.

Peretz said that he was “happy to give the news that I spoke with Ayelet Shaked… and we agreed that out of national responsibility and concern for a right-wing government and the religious-Zionist [public] Ayelet will head the Union of Right Wing Parties [URP],” writing on Twitter on Sunday night.
If the agreement is reached, Shaked will now lead URP, Peretz will take the second spot, National Union leader Betzalel Smotrich will be No. 3, New Right co-leader Naftali Bennett will be No. 4, and the exact order of the remaining six spots in the top 10 were to be finalized in Peretz’s meeting with Bennett late Sunday night, to include ironing out the remaining issues for a unified Knesset slate including Bayit Yehudi, National Union and the New Right.

Reports emerged on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sarah, actively tried to sabotage the political union on the Right, promising Peretz that he would only stay Education Minister if he refused to let Shaked lead the list, threatening that he would lose the position if he stepped down for her.

Various reports of such interference were first revealed last week, but audio recordings of Peretz’s wife, Michal – broadcast by Channel 12 on Sunday night – confirmed this version of events. In the recordings, she is heard explaining why she was pressuring her husband not to give into Shaked’s demand.

She said that Netanyahu would bring Bayit Yehudi into a government with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party if he forms a national unity government after the election, but would not do so if Shaked led the list.

“Netanyahu promised that if he [Peretz] does not concede to Ayelet, he will be education minister. If he does concede, he won’t be,” Michal Peretz is heard saying. “The reason is that Sarah [Netanyahu] says Ayelet is the one who put together the [criminal] cases against Netanyahu.”

She said her husband was not adamant to stay No. 1, whereas she was.

The Likud party denied Netanyahu had interfered, saying that apart from offering Bayit Yehudi two ministerial posts, the report was unfounded. 

Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party condemned New Right’s pending union with the URP, and vowed to run alone. Shaked and Bennett had hoped to bring Zehut into the broad political union.

“Zehut will run with full vigor and strength to ensure that there is honorable representation for the liberty camp in the coming Knesset,” the party said.

And the far-right Otzma Yehudit party announced on Sunday night that it had formed a political union with the fringe, anti-LGBT and equally far-right Noam party.

Shaked and Smotrich have both declared their desire to bring Otzmah into their political union, although Peretz and his team have been less welcoming.

Otzmah has complained bitterly that Bayit Yehudi and National Union have reneged on their previous political union, which helped URP cross the electoral threshold in the April election, and have insisted on receiving the fifth spot on a joint list for the upcoming election.

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