New Right declares it is running alone in elections

Bayit Yehudi and National Union still in negotiations for joint run.

Head of New Right party Naftali Bennett [L] and MK Ayelet Shaked [R] (photo credit: AVRAHAM SASSONI)
Head of New Right party Naftali Bennett [L] and MK Ayelet Shaked [R]
(photo credit: AVRAHAM SASSONI)
A day after the Israeli left managed to put its differences behind it and unite, the Israeli right decided to go its separate ways and will run two party lists to the right of the Likud. 
New Right co-leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked announced on Monday that they would not be running with any other party in the upcoming election, putting an end to persistent rumours and spin that they would join a united list of all right-wing, religious parties.
“New Right is running as an independent party in the upcoming elections,” declared Bennett standing next to Shaked in a joint statement to the press, and emphasized the party’s social and religiously liberal credentials.
“We are the right of values which values the state,” Bennett added, in perhaps a jibe at the frequent attacks against the state and its institutions which has characterized representatives of the hard and far right religious parties.
Shaked said that the only way to victory for the right wing bloc was for New Right to run alone, and the two emphasizes that they were aiming at taking seats from Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu.
“I call on you, right wing voters who were forced to vote for Blue and White, for [Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor] Liberman, or stayed at home, you have a home. Come home and vote New Right,” implored Shaked.
“This is the only chance for the right-wing bloc has of getting 61 seats and for victory.”
In the September election, Likud lost three seats from its April tally in the April election, and Yisrael Beytenu, which campaigned fiercely on keeping Israel a religiously liberal country in the face of religiously restrictive policies advanced by the ultra-Orthodox and hardline religious-Zionist parties, picked up three seats.
It is those wavering voters, who appear disenchanted with Netanyahu, the Likud, and the right-wing in general, which New Right is aiming at.
Bennett has long been opposed to the religious conservatism of the Bayit Yehudi and National Union MKs and leaders, and largely for this reason split from Bayit Yehudi to form his new party ahead of the April 2019 elections.
The New Right leader believes that the likes of National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich, Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz, and far-right Otzma leader Itamar Ben-Gvir in particular will chase away liberal, right-wing voters from his party.
In the meantime, the central committee of the Bayit Yehudit party approved a deal on Monday night to run on a joint list with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party which was worked out between the respective party leaders Peretz and Ben-Gvir last month.
Peretz forged the deal with Otzma largely as a way to weaken Smotrich’s negotiating power, who was gunning for the leadership of a joint Bayit Yehudi and National Union list owing to his own popularity and the severe dissatisfaction with Peretz’s functioning as leader of the united religious-Zionist political party.
The Bayit Yehudi central committee had little choice but to approve the deal since Peretz refused to allow a vote on the agreement until now, with just over 48 hours before the deadline for submitting electoral lists is reached.
Given that opinion polls show clearly that Bayit Yehudi would have no chance of passing the electoral threshold by itself, and that even a  a deal with just its natural religious-Zionist partner National Union would still not guarantee a place in the next Knesset, the Bayit Yehudi central committee membership knew that not approving the deal was electoral suicide.
Peretz is deeply unpopular within the Bayit Yehudi central committee because of his refusal to allow primary elections of some form for the party leadership and electoral list, and scenes inside the central committee grew ugly as some of that resentment boiled over into physical shoving and shouting matches.
Earlier on Monday, Smotrich and Peretz held lengthy discussions to formulate an agreement to bring in National Union on to a joint electoral list with Bayit Yehudi and Otzma and the basic framework of a deal was agreed.
Peretz will regain his position as leader of the united electoral list which he held in the April election, but Smotrich will have first option on any ministerial positions that party might be offered. 
The deal was not yet finalized by press time Monday night, and negotiations could still continue through Tuesday ahead of the deadline on Wednesday night.