Israel Election 2019: Nearly All Right-wing Parties Declare They Will Recommend Netanyahu to Form Coalition

Yisrael Beiteinu got five Knesset seats but its leader Avigdor Lieberman has yet to announce who he will recommend for the premiership

Chairman of Shas party Arye Dery in party headquarters, Jerusalem, Israel, April 9, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

Nearly all right-wing parties declared Tuesday they will recommend Benjamin Netanyahu to President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government.

Kulanu, the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism together got 25 Knesset seats. With Likud – who received 35 Knesset seats - the right-wing bloc would achieve the minimum 60 Knesset seats required for forming a coalition.

Yisrael Beiteinu got five Knesset seats but its leader Avigdor Lieberman has yet to announce who he will recommend for the premiership.

Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked's Hayamin Hehadash did not make the 3.25-percent electoral threshold and received only 3.14 percent of the vote, although they expressed hope on Tuesday that counting of votes of soldiers will help them make it into the Knesset.

Rafi Peretz, chairman of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, an alliance that includes Kahanists and got five Knesset seats, said on Tuesday: "We will be the party to Netanyahu's right ... We expect the prime minister to announce unequivocally that he will form a right-wing government in which we will be senior partners."

Second on the union's roster, Bezalel Smotrich, tweeted Tuesday: "Forming a right-wing government depends on amendment of the immunity law." Referring to a bill which would grant Netanyahu immunity from standing trial in corruption cases, he said the law "will build trust among coalition members that the next government can rule for a full term."

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The ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, said they would recommend Netanyahu. Party heads, Arye Dery and Yaakov Litzman, each spoke to Netanyahu and said they would support him. Dery added that Shas would support a right-wing government.

Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon said that Netanyahu called him and the two agreed to meet after the final results are in. He then told reporters, "I am a man of the right and I will recommend Netanyahu for premiership."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday night during his victory speech that he has initiated discussions with the heads of right-wing parties, "our natural partners," in his words.

"Almost everyone has publicly stated that they would support me. I intend to finish the job [of forming a coalition] quickly and establish a strong national government. It will be a right-wing government." He added that he "intends to be prime minister for all of Israel's citizens, on the right and left, Jew and non-Jews alike."