Likud Congratulates Jewish Home, National Union on Deal

MK Betzalel Smotrich. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

In an unusual statement regarding one of its potential competitors in the upcoming Knesset election, the Likud issued a statement praising the signing of an agreement between Jewish Home and National Union to run as a single list. “We congratulate the parties on joining together, and we urge them to bring in other parties in order to ensure that the right wins in the upcoming election,” the statement said.

The deal, signed late Thursday, will see Jewish Home’s Rafi Peretz as head of the list, with National Union’s Betzalel Smotrich number two. The order of candidates will alternate down the list with names from both parties. If the party joins a coalition and receives a ministry, Peretz and Smotrich will alternate as minister, with the latter getting the first post. If it gets two ministries, Smotrich gets first choice.

Smotrich said of the negotiations that led to the deal that they were “difficult and exhausting, but, baruch Hashem, we were able to reach our goal. In the coming days we will take efforts to bring in other parties in order to further expand the list and to ensure that votes for the right are not thrown away.”

That will not necessarily apply to the Otzma Yehudit party, headed by attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir. “We congratulate the parties for finally working out an agreement, but from the agreement it appears that neither Jewish Home nor National Union took into account that other parties would join,” the party said in a statement. “There is no room on the list for Otzma Yehudit or other parties. Thus the right may end up losing votes.” The statement added that Otzma Yehudit was seeking other partners. Reports said that party officials have been discussing the possibility of a merger with Eli Yishai’s Yachad Party.