Yamina MKs vow not to rebel against Bennett after Chikli defection

After Lapid receives mandate, Netanyahu warns of "shameful attempt to build a left-wing government with votes of the Right."

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett.
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett succeeded in stopping further defections from his party on Thursday, a day after MK Amichai Chikli rebelled against him.
Chikli sent Bennett a letter on Wednesday expressing his opposition to the formation of a government with Yesh Atid, Meretz and Labor and backed from outside the coalition by Arab parties. Early Thursday morning, Chikli clarified that he would vote against the "formation of a government together with the Joint List and Meretz, just as we pledged to the electorate."   
But since then, three Yamina MKs have come out in support of Bennett, joining Ayelet Shaked, who did so in a long Facebook post on Wednesday night. 
Yamina MK Abir Kara attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's failed attempt at forming a government and progressing his proposals, in a letter on Thursday.
"You failed to deal with the self-employed and small businesses; you failed to form a government. Instead of engaging in the formation of a right-wing government, you dealt with personal insults against Naftali Bennett."
He called Netanyahu out on his "tricks" over the past two years that did not succeed in forming a government in the end.
Likud responded in a statement saying that "Netanyahu never promised Abir Kara anything. This is a ridiculous spin of the truth by Bennett designed to divert attention from the fact that he is running to the left-wing government with Meretz and Labor – despite
promises he made to his voters."  
Kara was joined by MK Idit Silman who said "there is no chance of me deserting Bennett" and that she "completely supports him." MK Nir Orbach added that "Bennett's path to form a government is correct."
In a meeting of the Likud faction in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu warned that the government Bennett would form would give in to the international community. He called on Shaked and other Yamina MKs to prevent a government with Yair Lapid, reading quotes from her against Lapid, Labor and Meretz during the recent campaign. 
"There is a shameful attempt to build a left-wing government with votes of the Right," he told the faction.
Earlier, Netanyahu made a point of meeting the leaders of his political camp on Thursday, a day after President Reuven Rivlin granted a mandate to form a government to Lapid.
Right bloc leaders vowed to go to the opposition rather than join a government led by Bennett. They urged Bennett to shun Lapid and instead form a government with them when Lapid's four week mandate ends.
Shas leader Arye Deri and United Torah Judaism heads Moshe Gafni and Ya'acov Litzman attended the meeting. Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich was invited but missed the meeting due to a medical issue.
Hadassah Brenner and Celia Jean contributed to this report.