Netanyahu planning to create united right-wing bloc
Following Liberman’s call for unity gov’t, Netanyahu looks to bring together small right-wing parties into a single ticket.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is working to unify the parties to the right of the Likud ahead of the September 17th election, with the goal of insuring that the right-wing – religious bloc has a clear majority in the Knesset without the support of Avidgor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, Haaretz reported Monday.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has long feared that either Liberman or Kulanu chief Moshe Kahlon could either help the center-left Blue and White party depose him or force him into a unity government arrangement, now believes he must win the backing of 61 MKs in the Knesset from right-wing and haredi parties, excluding Yisrael Beytenu, or be forced from office.
While Netanyahu removed the threat of Kahlon defecting from the right-wing coalition by merger the Likud with Kulanu, former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman’s comments over the weekend highlighted the Prime Minister’s concerns regarding his former political ally.
On Saturday, Liberman declined to endorse Netanyahu as prime minister following the September election, saying instead he would back the chief of whichever party was larger.
In addition, Liberman said he would try to force the Likud and Blue and White parties into a unity government, with the aim of excluding religious parties.
“Our job is to force the Likud and Blue and White to create an emergency unity government which will be nationalistic and liberal: Yisrael Beytenu, Likud, and Blue and White. A government which represents the will of the vast majority of Israeli citizens.”
In response, Netanyahu is looking to bring together all of the small right-wing parties into an alliance which would ensure their entry into the Knesset – and prevent the massive loss of right-wing votes which occurred in the April 9th election.
Some 260,000 votes, or roughly 6% of the total vote – equivalent to eight seats in the Knesset – went to the New Right and Zehut parties, which failed to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.
With New Right leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked preparing to run for the Knesset again, Netanyahu’s top priority is preventing the two from again running solo – and risking another electoral defeat, Haaretz reported.
Bennett had suggested his New Right party might run as part of a ‘technical bloc’ with other rightist parties, but a dust up with a Jewish Home lawmaker last week appeared to make the possibility of a broad right-wing union more remote.