‘I thought Shaked could lead…I was wrong,’ says Otzma Yehudit leader

Itamar Ben Gvir’s party appears to be excluded from the United Right bloc to run in the September Knesset election.

By World Israel News Staff 

Despite a public opinion poll released this week showing the new United Right bloc surging to become the third-largest faction in the Knesset following the September 17 election, hard feelings and a sense of missed opportunity prevail over a failure to include more right-wing parties in the bloc.

One such party, Otzma Yehudit, had been part of a joint bloc which ran in the April 9 election but has not joined the new amalgamation headed by former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

“There is a complete disconnect and the matter is closed,” say Otzma Yehudit members, as quoted in the Israel Hayom newspaper, regarding the party’s apparent inability to join forces with Shaked.

“I thought Shaked could lead and bring together all the forces on the right,” says Itamar Ben Gvir of Otzma Yehudit, as reported in the newspaper. “But today I understand that I was wrong.”

Otzma Yehudit reportedly wanted the fifth and eleventh spots on the united list but was offered the eighth and 13th places instead. Tuesday’s public opinion poll on Channel 12 News showed the United Right winning 12 seats in the 120-member parliament.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked to get Otzma Yehudit included in the joint list for the April election and reportedly supported their inclusion for the upcoming ballot, as well.

Ironically, Shaked was earlier reported to be working together with Ben Gvir to help her own cause to receive the top spot in the bloc, which she ultimately did, amid opposition from Education Minister Rafi Peretz who begrudgingly agreed to give up the number one position to Shaked, having been convinced that she was more popular.

The deadline for submitting lists of candidates to the Central Elections Committee is 10 p.m. on Thursday night.

Another right-wing party which will not be part of the united bloc is Zehut, headed by former MK Moshe Feiglin.

He says that he tried to join the United Right but was not wanted, though according to other accounts, the bloc did make an effort to bring him in.

Feiglin posted on Facebook that Shaked “endangers right-wing rule” and that her bloc is too religiously extreme.