Report: Likud Trying to Poach Blue and White MK

Nathan Eshel. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

The Likud has decided to target members of the opposing Blue and White party, encouraging them to bolt from the party led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, and join the coalition – and a report in Yediot Acharonot Wednesday said that the Likud’s first target is Mrs. Omer Yankelevich, an observant MK who is number 23 on the Blue and White list. Yankelevich denied she had been approached, and the Likud denied that it had made her any official offers.

According to the report, a senior member of the Likud involved in coalition negotiations reached out to Yankelevich, appealing to her to bolt Blue and White and join the Likud. Likud officials have also sought to influence her by appealing to members of the community she is active in; the report said that she had ties with several chareidi community leaders.

If she does join, the report said, the Likud is prepared to offer Yankelevich a senior position – such as chairmanship of an important Knesset committee. The report quoted Natan Eshel, a close associate of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and who is involved in the negotiations, as saying that “without her we have no government. If we get her vote we can have a government without Yvette [Liberman, head of Yisrael Beytenu], given the difficulties in negotiating a deal that will satisfy both him and the chareidi parties.

“We want her to leave Blue and White and join the Likud, and she will have an important role in the government, not just that of a back-bencher MK.”

However, when asked to respond to the report, Eshel said that “I am always happy for publicity, but we did not ask her to join us, and neither have we asked others. We are quite satisfied with our coalition of 65 MKs.”

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