‘We can’t take any chances’: Netanyahu appeals to the right for unity ahead of elections

“We all have one goal: to establish a strong, stable nationalist government for the next four years,” the former prime minister stressed.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to the right-wing camp to unite ahead of the upcoming November election.

Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) leader Itamar Ben-Gvir ran together in the last election, but over the past several weeks, they have not managed to overcome their disagreements. To date, it appears they may run separately – which puts each of them in danger of not making it to the Knesset.

Netanyahu is hoping to regain the premiership and relies heavily on the Religious Zionist camp, which includes both parties. Polls indicate that the race will be tight yet again, as were the four previous elections since 2019.

In a short but emphatic video message on social media Tuesday, he urged Ben-Gvir and Smotrich to put aside their differences.

“I wish the best of luck to all the candidates running in the [Religous Zionism] primaries… I’m confident that you’ll build an excellent list,” he said.

“We all have one goal: to establish a strong, stable nationalist government for the next four years,” he stressed.

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“But to achieve this goal, we need first and foremost one thing: to unite, not to split up,” he continued. “And so, I’m calling on the Religious Zionist and Otzma Yehudit parties to run together in the elections.

“We can’t take any chances. Only a joint run will ensure that these two parties will pass the electoral threshold. Only a joint run will ensure a government without the Joint,” he said referring to the anti-Zionist Arab Joint List parties.

Should Ben-Gvir and/or Smotrich not pass the threshold, Netanyahu would have little chance of success.

Announcing the results of his party’s primaries Tuesday, Smotrich appealed to all right-wing parties to sign a pledge not to join a government that would include the Arab parties.

“These are fateful elections for the future of the country. Over the past year we have seen the results of the bad government that was established with the support of Ra’am and the Islamic movement and which later also relied on the Joint Arab List,” he said.

“This harmed our national honor, led to the flow of funds to the Islamic movement and caused the Arab enemy to raise its head. It must not happen again.”