Lat night, at almost the last minute before candidate lists for the election for the 23rd Knesset closed, Habayit Hayehudi, led by Rafi Peretz, reached agreement with the New Right party, led by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, on a joint slate, under the Yamina banner. The agreement leaves out Itamar Ben-Gvir's Otzma Yehudit party, which had previously linked up with Habayit Hayehudi. Bennett had said that he would not consider running on a joint list with Ben-Gvir's party, citing for example the fact that the latter has a portrait on his living-room wall of Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Muslim worshippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in 1994.
Like the previously announced merger on the left between Labor-Gesher and Meretz, the joint Habayit Hayehudi-New Right link-up will prevent votes being lost to the block because of one of the parties, or both of them, failing to pass the minimum vote threshold for wining any Knesset seats. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu pressed for the right-wing parties to unite, including Otzma Yehudit. On the basis of recent polls, Yamina can be expected to win around ten seats. Otzma Yehudit will run separately.
Naftali Bennett heads the Yamina list, followed by Peretz, Shaked, and Bezalel Smotrich. The list is notable for being the only one submitted for the forthcoming election with equal numbers of men and women in its first ten candidate slots. The election will take place on March 2.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 16, 2020
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