Hayamin Hehadash chairwoman Ayelet Shaked called Thursday for continued efforts to unite the right-wing parties. “We are making every effort to bring about a full merger,” she told journalists outside her home. “We agreed to back down from the 50-50 demand even though the polls give us eight seats and four seats to [the Union of Right-Wing Parties]. I suggest that our friends wake up.”
Shaked’s concession opens the way for progress in the talks between the parties, but the main dispute remains who will head the joint slate, Shaked or Education Minister Rafi Peretz.
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On Thursday Hayamin Hehadash proposed that Peretz be placed second on the list after Shaked, followed by Union of Right-Wing Parties chairman Betzalel Smotrich, Naftali Bennett and then alternating candidates from the Union of Right-Wing Parties and Hayamin Hehadash.
The Union of Right-Wing Parties demanded instead a list in which candidates from three parties – Habayit Hayehudi, the Union of Right-Wing Parties and Hayamin Hehadash would alternate in a three-way system.
Shaked said, “I believe the right thing to do in order not to lose votes is to establish one big party, I called it Hayamin Hameuhad (the United Right), one big ideological party to the right of Likud.” The former justice minister also said she sees Otzma Yehudit as “part of the big merger.” “Our goal, my goal, is to establish a single big bloc of the ideological right,” Shaked said.
In an interview on Thursday with Arutz Sheva, Peretz said, “We all have one goal: To build unity and to build the right-wing bloc in order to fight for all the big banners of religious Zionism. I believe it will happen, that we will unite everyone.” He said he was “asking each side to come with good will, to come with modesty, out of a sense of national responsibility, and we will find a way to unite all the ranks.”
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Peretz and Ben-Gvir, head of Otzma Yehudit, were supposed to meet today, and the chairman of the Union of Right-Wing Parties planned to offer Ben-Gvir the fourth spot on the joint list. When Kan TV news reported this, Ben-Gvir canceled the meeting.
“I see they are trying to turn me into a bargaining chip versus Bennett and Shaked, but I will not be anyone’s bargaining chip,” he said in a statement to the media. “Habayit Hayehudi planned to offer me the fourth and eighth spots. We reject this offer. Our demands are unchanged: the third, sixth, ninth and twelfth spots.”