Right Wing Parties in Turmoil

MK Moti Yogev of the United Right party.
(Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Division and hard feelings on Israel’s right wing were on public display again on Wednesday as the several small parties struggled to compose themselves for the coming elections in September.

The Union of Right Wing Parties reportedly offered former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked the No. 2 spot on its slate, according to The Times of Israel. Shaked, who might yet rejoin Naftali Bennett in New Right, or possibly Likud, has yet to respond.

The offer reportedly came with a stipulation, however: Shaked was welcome, Bennett was not.

MK Moti Yogev accused Bennett on Wednesday of betraying the Jewish Home party, which he had led and which has since renamed itself the Union of Right Wing Parties. Bennett and Shaked, who was Jewish Home’s No. 2, both left to start New Right. Somehow, though, Shaked was spared the criticism.

“Bennett was not loyal to religious Zionism and its people,” Yogev said, and charged that he had abandoned the party with debts of millions of shekels.

Bennett replied: “I do not want to come back to you, and I do not regret establishing the New Right. In fact, I do not want anything from you,” he wrote in an online statement addressing Yogev.

He said the reason he left was “because you [Yogev] and others in the faction and outside of it have kidnapped the Jewish Home party to take it on a path that is far from what I and many others — including those within the party — believe in.”

“You have turned the Jewish Home into a place that really does not feel like a home, and it is very far from the values ​​of the religious Zionist public, as well as the secular Zionist public,” Bennett wrote. Both Jewish Home and New Right have made their appeals to secular as well as religious voters.

In response to Bennett, both URWP chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz and its No. 2, MK Bezalel Smotrich, issued statements urging all concerned to desist from personal attacks and instead work together toward their shared goal of establishing a right-wing government.

Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) also called for the right-wing parties to unite.

“Almost seven seats worth of right-wing votes have been lost because of parties that did not pass the threshold,” Levin said in an interview with Kan.

Meanwhile, Moshe Feiglin, chairman of the Zehut party, said on Wednesday evening that he would seriously consider running on a combined ticket with Ayelet Shaked and/or Naftali Bennett.

Zehut, like New Right, failed to win any Knesset seats in the April polling.

But Feiglin ruled out a joint effort with the United Right.

“Zehut does not see itself as part of Religious Zionism or any other sector. The necessary synergy has already been created in Zehut to a large extent. The concepts ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ — and, to a certain extent, the dichotomous division of right and left — are no longer relevant in the sphere of Zehut.”

Feiglin founded Zehut on a mixture of Zionism and libertarianism that seeks to win votes from the general population, not from any one sector.

A source in New Right told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that it was “99 percent certain” that the party would run with another party in September, but which one had not yet been decided.

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