Israel Elections: Netanyahu asks parties in his bloc for loyalty oath

Shas, UTJ have already signed. Religious Zionist Party expected to sign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen speaking at a Clalit vaccination center in Zarzir, on February 9, 2021. (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen speaking at a Clalit vaccination center in Zarzir, on February 9, 2021.
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked three parties in his political bloc to sign an oath that they will support him forming the next government, Likud officials said Tuesday, a month before the March 23 election.
During past elections, Netanyahu has had Shas, United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Yamina sign such oaths. This time, he has asked Shas, UTJ and the Religious Zionist Party. They all agreed.
The goal of the oath is to prevent Netanyahu’s allies from negotiating with Gideon Sa’ar or Naftali Bennett for them to form the government.
“The haredim [ultra-Orthodox] have turned their backs on Sa’ar,” a Likud source said. “They have committed to supporting only Netanyahu.”
Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich signed a shorter oath supporting Netanyahu for prime minister and vowing not to back any other candidate. The document signed by Shas leader Arye Deri and UTJ heads Moshe Gafni and Ya’acov Litzman included several clauses.
“Voting for any other party will bring the Left to power under the leadership of Yair Lapid,” the document they signed states. “We call upon the public to vote for us and not miss out on the chance of a full right-wing government.”
Sa’ar unveiled a new plan for the development of the city of Jerusalem on Tuesday. The plan vows to create 70,000 new, diverse, quality employment opportunities in the city and to build 40,000 new housing units in Jerusalem within 10 years. He also called for building in the city over the pre-1967 border.
“A government led by me will build in Givat Hamatos, in Atarot, and by working and building in Jerusalem, we will ensure the Jewish majority of Jerusalem and our future in the capital of Israel throughout the generations,” Sa’ar said alongside Jerusalem City Councilman Ofer Berkovitch, who is a candidate of his New Hope Party.
“In the last 12 years in which Netanyahu has been the prime minister, the Jewish majority in Jerusalem has been shrinking,” he said. “This is due to Netanyahu’s freezing of construction and refraining from building in the neighborhoods designated for construction in east Jerusalem.”