The Likud would definitely lose the election if the Union of Right-Wing Parties – the bloc of Bayit Yehudi, National Union and Otzma Yehudit – was not formed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told senior Likud members.
“We united the parties in order to ensure there would be a large enough chunk [of the votes], something that passes the electoral threshold. Without that union we would lose, this election would already be called,” Netanyahu said in a recording broadcast on KAN 11 Tuesday.
Netanyahu also talked about other parties that may not pass the 3.25% threshold, according to recent polls, and the debate as to whether the Likud should campaign in a way that will increase their votes but could put those parties, and therefore the right-wing bloc, in danger.
“We will decide, we will make a decision what to do with parties that we don’t think pass the threshold,” he said. “We’ll see where it develops. Don’t touch it. Our messages have an influence.”
Netanyahu was involved in the negotiations between the parties in the URP, providing incentives on his end for them to unite, including a promise of two ministerial portfolios, and a candidate from Bayit Yehudi appointed to the 28th spot on the Likud list. He faced criticism from the political Center and Left, as well as many Jewish groups abroad, because Otzma is led by students of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was banned from running for the Knesset on grounds of racist incitement.