In what is rapidly becoming a pre-election tradition, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is exhorting its future coalition partners to sign a loyalty pledge not to join any government not led by Netanyahu.
Shas and United Torah Judaism were the first to sign on Tuesday.
Betzalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party was also expected to sign the pledge. But on Tuesday evening, Smotrich said he won’t sign.
“Past experience shows that such agreements don’t always translate into reality. Our only loyalty is to our path and principles and the only coalition we take part in will be one that emulates those,” said a spokesman for the party quoted by Arutz Sheva.
The coalition partners have signed similar pledges in previous elections. This time, it was reported that the specific aim was to block Netanyahu’s allies from negotiating a coalition with Netanyahu rivals Gideon Saar or Naftali Bennett.
The move will close off the option for the center-left bloc led by Yesh Atid chairmanYair Lapid from adding the right-wing and religious parties to their list of hoped-for partners in forming a majority.
Updated Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:01 pm .