Smotrich: Bennett, Shaked, Agree to Recommend Netanyahu

Betzalel Smotrich. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

After an announcement by Rabbi Rafi Peretz Sunday night that he had decided to take the second slot on a single right-wing list, deferring to Ayelet Shaked to lead the list, negotiations continued to work out the details that would allow the United Right List and New Right parties to run as a single list. The two intend to bring in Otzma Yehudit, and especially its leader Itamar Ben-Gvir – but in a social media post, Yair Lapid, number two in Blue and White, appealed to Shaked, Bennett and Peretz not to do so.

Reports Monday said that at this point, the main issue preventing an official announcement on a single right-wing list is whether or not the party will recommend Binyamin Netanyahu to President Reuven Rivlin as a candidate for prime minister, assuming the Likud is the largest party in the Knesset. Both Shaked and Bennett have said that they would not necessarily do so, although both pulled back from that position on Sunday, with Bennett saying that New Right would “most likely” recommend Netanyahu.

Reports Sunday said that Netanyahu has been pressuring Peretz to agree to a unified list only if the New Right leaders agree to recommend him for prime minister.

Speaking to Army Radio Monday, Minister Betzalel Smotrich said that the two had agreed to recommend Netanyahu. “There is no other candidate anyway,” he said. “The issue of Netanyahu will not be a problem.” Holding up the agreement, he said, was the placement of candidates on the list, specifically if New Right’s number four will precede United Right List’s number five. In addition, Peretz wants the first ministerial assignment for the party to be the Education Ministry, not the Justice Ministry. “Everything is resolvable,” he said.

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