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Israel: Right-wing parties explore running as united bloc ahead of March elections

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

FILE - Outgoing Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett speaks with newly appointed Education minister MK Rafi Peretz during exchange ceremony of ministers, held at the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem, on June 26, 2019
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90, FileFILE - Outgoing Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett speaks with newly appointed Education minister MK Rafi Peretz during exchange ceremony of ministers, held at the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem, on June 26, 2019

Reports suggest move going through highly likely even as previous team-up fell short of expectations

Israel's interim Defense Minister and chairman of the New Right party Naftali Bennett met Thursday the Education Minister, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, to discuss the option of running in a unified bloc ahead of the upcoming elections in March, Hebrew-language broadcaster Channel 12 reported.

Even though the last team-up of Israel’s right-wing parties resulted in seven seats in the Israeli parliament -- what was considered a disappointment -- it is estimated that the move will come into fruition.

In the April elections, when the parties ran separately, Bennett’s New Right came short of entering the Knesset (Israeli parliament) as his party missed some 1,300 votes to pass the 3.25% threshold required by Israeli law.

On Wednesday, sources informed in the matter told Channel 12 that Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich is making efforts to lead a joint one-party move that will position itself to the right of the Likud.

The sources further stated that Smotrich is considering all options, including running as a bloc with Bennett’s New Right.

Earlier, reports broke that parliamentarian and close associate of Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, is urging the defense minister to lead a one-party slate of all right-wing parties. But Bennett is reportedly reluctant of the idea, as the move could deter the appeal of many right-wing liberal voters.

Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called last week on the heads of the parties to the Likud’s right to unite and run as one slate.

“The two lists might fall under the threshold percentage and will bring about a left government,” Netanyahu tweeted, to which the New Right replied: “We appreciate Netanyahu’s concern [but] we will continue in our mission.”