Jewish Home party leader Rafi Peretz finally conceded the top spot of a right-wing bloc to the popular Ayelet Shaked, who seems more likely to succeed in attracting votes.
By World Israel News Staff
Just days ahead of the August 1st deadline for parties to submit their final lists for the September 17 national election, the Union of Right-Wing Parties is uniting with the New Right in an effort to prevent a left-wing victory.
On Sunday evening, Jewish Home party leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz made a long-awaited announcement that he was handing over the leadership the right-wing bloc to former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is seen as popular and able to win more votes.
“We agreed that, out of a sense of national responsibility and concern for the formation of a right-wing government and the religious Zionist [sector], Ayelet will lead the United Right,” Peretz tweeted.
“Unity is the shared goal of all of us,” he said.
Shaked had abandoned the Jewish Home party together with former Education Minister Naftali Bennett to form the New Right party ahead of the April election.
“We need a big right-wing bloc, only that will stop the establishment of a left-wing government,” Bennett stated, referring to the diversity within the right wing. He hopes to bring the extreme-right Otzma Yehudit and quasi-libertarian Zehut parties under one umbrella.
“In the Knesset we will operate as an independent faction,” Bennett said earlier in the day in a livestream video. “A unity deal is a bus to the Knesset. Once we pass that checkpoint, we will get off the bus.”
Indeed, just last Thursday, in a bid to strengthen its chances in the coming elections, the far left-wing Meretz party announced a merger with the recently created Israel Democratic Party and Knesset member Stav Shaffir.
Three Arab parties – Hadash, Ta’al and Ra’am – also announced a merger on Saturday in order to revive the Joint List.