Smotrich: ‘No Possibility’ There Will Not Be Unity on the Right

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel new right
Naftali Bennett with Rafi Peretz. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

New Right head Naftali Bennett will meet Sunday with United Right List leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz to hammer out details of an agreement that will see both parties run on a united list in the September elections. This will be the first time the two will be meeting to discuss the unity agreement, after shaking hands several weeks ago at a ceremony where Peretz took over the Education Ministry from Bennett.

Bennett met on Thursday with the List’s Betzalel Smotrich. No deal was reached at that meeting. However, negotiators for both parties have been discussing specific issues since that meeting, and will again meet after the Bennett-Peretz meeting. Sources told Yediot Acharonot that both parties want to wrap up the negotiations early in the week in order to turn their attention to bring the Otzma Yehudi party into the deal. Knesset lists must be submitted to the State Election Committee by Thursday.

On Friday, Smotrich said that “there is no possibility that we will not run with the New Right. It would be too great a risk and irresponsible for the future of Israel. I am positive that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and our colleagues in the New Right understand this too.”

The comments came in response to reports that Netanyahu had promised Peretz and Smotrich several ministries, as well as a deputy ministry position for Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben-Gvir if the United Right List avoided a joint run with the New Right. Netanyahu is said to be concerned over the inclusion of the New Right, which has said that it will not necessarily recommend Netanyahu for the prime minister’s job when asked by President Reuven Rivlin.