The Battle for the Right: Likud Moves to Lure Tkuma Away From Habayit Hayehudi

With a deal between the right-wing Tkuma and Habayit Hayehudi parties brewing, Likud is considering luring Tkuma away to run on the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu ticket in the January 22 election, political sources say.

The goal would be to prevent Habayit Hayehudi chief Naftali Bennett from gaining momentum; Likud would also take advantage of the dislike between Bennett and Tkuma's Uri Ariel.

In recent weeks Tkuma, representing a nationalist-ultra-Orthodox constituency, has held talks with Habayit Hayehudi; the sides agreed that four of the top 10 candidates would be from Tkuma. But an agreement has not yet been signed, probably due to the enmity between the two leaders.

So in recent days, several people close to Likud have held talks with Tkuma. With Likud's revamped right-wing image and a religious group on board, Likud could leave Bennett without a unique message.

Any deal would have to be completed before Thursday, the last day for submitting party slates.