Right-wing parties vow to back Netanyahu

Election ads and voting abroad starting

Interior Minister Arye Deri at a Shas campaign rally (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Interior Minister Arye Deri at a Shas campaign rally
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The leaders of Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yamina signed a letter on Sunday in which they promised to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in forming the next government after the March 2 election.
The letter was initiated by Shas leader Arye Deri to counter any impression that any of the parties could help Blue and White leader Benny Gantz build the next governing coalition. A similar bloc was formed after the September election and blocked Gantz from forming a government.
“We will not support or join any government, except a government formed by the Likud and headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” the three leaders signed. “We will not negotiate separately on the establishment of a different government.”
The prime minister responded that the letter from this bloc proved that Gantz would be unable to form a government without the Joint List abstaining or supporting it.
“The commitment of the right-wing bloc is the final nail in Gantz’s bloc,” Netanyahu said.
Blue and White responded that it is Netanyahu who has failed at forming a government twice and wasted NIS 8 billion by dragging the country to three elections in an attempt at evading the law. The party warned that the bloc would drag Israelis to the polls again.
Netanyahu gained a boost on Sunday when the Tzomet Party dropped out of the race after reaching a deal with the Likud to endorse Likud.
Tzomet, which was part of Netanyahu’s government from 1996 to 1999 under the leadership of former IDF chief of staff Rafi Eitan, has long held an agricultural, nationalist and secularist ideology, specifically focusing on the needs of farmers.
It was headed by former Likud MK Oren Hazan in the April 2019 elections, and in September, under the leadership of Moshe Green, it won 16,000 votes. In return for dropping out of the race, the Likud promised Green a series of steps to help farmers.
Some of the proposals include a freeze of the Draft Planning and Construction Law (Kaminitz Law), which restricts the construction of illegal structures, and the establishment of an interministerial committee to examine solutions to issues raised by taxi drivers and commuters.
Meanwhile, election commercials on television and radio will begin on Monday. The ads, which were once seen as a big part of elections and were once shown in prime time, will air between 10:30 p.m. and midnight.
Ambassadors and other emissaries abroad will already begin voting in the election on Tuesday, starting with Israel’s embassy in Wellington, New Zealand.
There are some 5,000 Israelis abroad who have the right to vote by absentee ballot at 96 embassies and consulates. Israel does not have absentee balloting for other citizens.
The voting abroad will conclude on Thursday at Israel’s consulates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The turnout among Israelis abroad was 76% in the April election and 69% in September.