Cracks in Yemina party as MK insists he won’t support unity with Left

Yemina MK Amichai Chikli reiterated his opposition to the party joining with those who are ideologically unaligned. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yemina party, says he’ll work to form a unity government with left-wing and anti-Zionist Arab parties. However, not all of his party is on board. Knesset Member Amichai Chikli doubled down on his opposition to the idea on Thursday.

“Let there be no misunderstandings, I will vote against the formation of a government together with the Joint List and Meretz just as we pledged to the electorate,” Chikli tweeted Thursday.

The tweet reaffirms a letter he sent to Bennett that was leaked on Wednesday in which he spelled out his opposition to joining forces with the Left and Arab parties.

He said a unity government would constitute a breach of several promises made to the party’s electorate, including its pledge to form a right-wing government, to not lend a hand to making opposition leader Yair Lapid prime minister, and to not sit with the far-left Meretz party.

The Likud, sensing weakness, has been trying to pressure Yemina members to abandon the party in an effort to torpedo a unity government. According to reports, the Likud is targeting Chikli, Irit Silman and Ayelet Shaked.

However, it doesn’t appear that Chikli, who has been the only one publicly vocal against Bennett’s current efforts, would go so far as to desert his party. A few days ago on Twitter, he wrote, “There’s a fertile imagination in the halls of the Knesset. I’m with Naftali Bennett and behind his efforts to form a government, a right-wing government to start. And if that doesn’t come about then a unity government. We are one fist.”

In a surprise move that even Yemina’s No. 2, Shaked, says has hurt them with their base, the party has taken a turn from ideological to practical politics with Bennett arguing the main thing is to prevent another election (that would be the fifth in less than three years’ time).

“There are two options: to be dragged to a fifth, sixth and seventh election that will simply destroy the country, or to establish a broad emergency government, although it would be challenging, but one that will be able to get the wagon unstuck from the mud,” Bennett said on Wednesday.

“We made a final attempt to leave an opening for a right-wing government, but Netanyahu slammed the door on us,” Bennett said.

Netanyahu attacked Bennett on Wednesday, saying he will do anything to become prime minister and fulfill his personal ambitions.

Netanyahu’s position doesn’t look good at the moment. Also on Wednesday, Lapid received the mandate to form a government. He will have 28 days to do so and has already expressed willingness to work with Bennett.