Netanyahu reportedly offered a far-right leader a promise to reduce the electoral threshold in exchange for dropping out of the elections.
By World Israel News Staff
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly offered Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir a deal in which the latter would withdraw his party from the elections in exchange for the prime minister’s promise to lower the electoral threshold ahead of the next elections.
The electoral threshold, which every party must pass to enter the Knesset, stands at 3.25 percent. It has risen over the years from one percent.
Netanyahu’s motivation is to save right-wing votes from being “wasted” in the coming elections as happened in April, when over a quarter million votes that would have gone to the right-wing camp went up in smoke mainly because two parties, the New Right and Zehut, failed to pass the electoral threshold.
The report from Yediot Ahronoth said that the “Ben-Gvir challenge” demanded “creativity” from Netanyahu as he can’t promise Ben-Gvir a role in his government like he did with Moshe Feiglin from the Zehut party. The reason: It would likely drive voters away given the far right leader’s reputation as an extremist.
Three leading members of Otzma Yehudit have already been banned from running in the elections and the party itself narrowly avoided being banned in its entirety by Israel’s Central Elections Committee.
The report says that Ben-Gvir met with Netanyahu confidante Natan Eshel and that Ben-Gvir described the meeting as “very good.”
Ben-Gvir made a number of demands at the meeting, according to the report, including that Netanyahu pressure another right-wing party, Yemina, to cease its campaign against him.
He also demanded that the Likud headquarters in Judea and Samaria work in cooperation with Otzma Yehudit.
On Tuesday, Ben-Gvir denied the entire report. He told Israel’s Army Radio, “I have not received any proposal from the Likud.”
“They fell hard for fake news,” Ben-Gvir said. “There was no deal and there won’t be one.”
Ben-Gvir criticized Yediot Ahronoth for failing to check the story with him before publishing.