Right-Wing Parties Wrangle Over Polls Versus Real World

YERUSHALAYIM -
United Right chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz (center) and National Union’s Bezalel Smotrich. (Flash90)

Amid calls for reaching an agreement by Wednesday night, negotiations for a combined campaign of right-wing parties were still stuck on working out a fair apportionment of the electoral list.

The central issue seemed to be about who is entitled to preference on the list: the New Right party, which is stronger in the current polls, or the United Right, which won six seats in the April elections while New Right failed to even make the electoral threshold?

The New Right has called for a near-fifty-fifty split of places on a joint Knesset list, giving the United Right an extra seat in the event that the joint list wins an odd number of seats.

“The technical bloc will be led by the candidate who can bring the most seats – and that is Ayelet Shaked. It is a matter of mutual interest for both of the parties, one which will maximize the right-wing bloc’s strength,” the party said. “Our offer is more than fair, and gives a significant advantage to the United Right due to our clear desire to run together on a single list. As far as we are concerned, we could reach an agreement this evening.”

Or, as the United Right put it in a statement on Wednesday morning, Once again, the New Right is relying on polls and [social media], as it did before. We would like to remind them that there is a difference between the real world and the imaginary, virtual world. In the real world, the Jewish Home-National Union [the two factions comprising the United Right] has six Knesset members currently serving, while the New Right didn’t pass the minimum threshold.”

“There is a three-part leadership with three parties here,” the United Right argued, referring to the Jewish Home, National Union, and New Right. “The fairest arrangement would be to give each one-third [of the slots on the Knesset list], a faithful representation of the three parties – despite the fact that in the New Right, only Bennett and Shaked would actually bring any votes.”

“We could make a deal this afternoon already, there’s no need to wait till this evening.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday night reports surfaced again about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intervening to arrange for the far-right Otzma Yehudit party to rejoin United Right.

Netanyahu had engineered a similar deal prior to the April elections in an effort to keep thousands of right-wing votes from being wasted on Otzma Yehudit running alone and failing to make the threshold.

According to the reports, the prime minister promised two ministerial appointments to Jewish Home and National Union (the components of United Right) if they align with Otzma Yehudit Party.

The prime minister conditioned the offer on the two parties adding Otzma before allowing New Right to join, according to a report on Walla.

In the event that any of the above combinations prove viable, it will, of course, necessitate a recalculation of placements of candidates on the electoral list. There may be not only a three-way division, but possibly a four-way one.

The Likud, however, denied the reports: “The prime minister is not handing out ministerial portfolios to anyone, and is not getting involved in alliances on the Right. Whoever wants a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu must vote only for one big Likud.”