Citing a sense of “national responsibility,” URWP leader Rafi Peretz cedes the top spot to Shaked.
Jewish Home Party leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz agreed earlier this week to cede the top slot in a united electoral list to New Right Party leader Ayelet Shaked, sealing a deal that will join the two parties in Israel’s upcoming September national elections. The religious right-wing parties, including the New Right, Jewish Home and National Union have all joined under the name “The United Right.”
Peretz wrote on Twitter Sunday that he was “happy to relay the news that I spoke with Ayelet Shaked … and we agreed that out of [a sense of] national responsibility and concern for a right-wing government and the religious-Zionist [public], Ayelet will head the Union of Right Wing Parties.”
Under the agreement, Shaked will take the top spot, followed by Peretz, Bezalel Smotrich and New Right co-leader Naftali Bennett, who led the New Right in the April 9 election. The remaining spots have yet to be announced.
The Likud party criticized the union because it did not include two other small right-wing parties—Zehut and Otzma Yehudit. The electoral threshold threatens these parties, and their run may result in the loss of right-wing votes.
Shaked stated after the dramatic political merge that “we have united the right-wing parties into a joint bloc, ensuring that crucial votes are not wasted.”
Former Likud Knesset member Moshe Feiglin, writing on Facebook, said Shaked had ignored his party’s overtures and chose to focus exclusively on talks with the URWP.
“The cat is out of the bag. Even though in the last election I received many more votes [personally] than either Ayelet [Shaked] or Naftali [Bennett]—the votes for the New Right were divided up between them—and even though we offered them an alliance a month ago, Shaked preferred to hold talks with every party to the right of the Likud, except for Zehut.”
“Zehut will run by itself,” continued Feiglin, “to ensure that the liberty camp is well-represented in the next Knesset. Regarding claims about splitting the right-wing vote—please address your questions to Ayelet Shaked.”
Shaked said the union is working towards including Otzma Yehudit and Zehut. If they are not incorporated into the new union before the party registration deadline on Thursday, they can possibly get reserved spots on the Likud list. This has yet to be negotiated, but the United Right said in a statement that they would pressure the Likud party to do so.
By JLNJ Staff and combined sources