The New Right is ready to go again if elections are held.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
New Right party officials say they’re ready for a second go if the country goes to unprecedented back-to-back elections. The party narrowly failed to meet the minimum required threshold by about 1,400 votes in the last elections held in April.
When a party doesn’t pass the electoral threshold all of its votes are discounted. In the New Right’s case it cost Israel’s right-wing bloc over 138,000 votes, which went up in smoke when the party failed to make it into the Knesset.
But now it appears the party may get a second chance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has encountered unexpected difficulties in forming a government coalition. In mid-May, he requested a two-week extension. It expires on Wednesday night.
The ostensible problem surrounds the conscription law for young haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, men, many of whom claim exemptions from the draft as seminary students. This has created a rift in Israeli society between secular and religious as the former feel that the haredim aren’t bearing their fair share of the national burden. Military conscription is mandatory in Israel.
Netanyahu’s best efforts have not been able to bring together coalition partners who stand at opposite ends of the debate over the conscription law.
On Monday, the Likud brought a motion to dissolve the Knesset, a first-step toward heading to new elections.
The New Right was founded by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. It’s not clear if Shaked will run again.
According to party officials, “The party will run in the elections and make connections, with Shaked or without her.”
This may be a disadvantage for the New Right as Shaked is popular, a fact known to the party and indicated by the fact that her name came first on campaign posters despite Bennett being the party’s leading figure.
Prior to the sudden possibility of new elections, it appeared that Bennett would move on from politics or at least take a long hiatus.
At the International Bible Competition on May 9, his final speech as education minister at an official event, he said “You try as long as you can, don’t give up as long as there’s any chance. Once you’re hit – get up, learn from your mistakes and move on. I did the best I could. There’s so much work yet to be done, and people at least as good as me to do it. Wherever I’ll be, I’ll never stop giving everything I can for the Israeli people.”