Israeli far-right parties unite for September vote

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked

Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked (L) will lead the alliance.

:: Israeli far-right parties announced Monday they have reached a deal to unite for September elections, in a move that could boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hopes of remaining in office.

Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked will lead the alliance while current education minister Rafi Peretz will be second on the list, the parties said in a statement.

Transport minister Bezalel Smotrich will be third and former education minister Naftali Bennett fourth.

The new alliance between the Union of Right-Wing Parties and The New Right was not given a name.

The Union of Right-Wing Parties, led by Peretz, won five seats in April elections.

The New Right party of Shaked and Bennett did not win any seats, failing to cross the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent of the vote.

Joining forces could ensure those far-right votes are not lost in the upcoming election.

According to a New Right, they agreed to back Netanyahu to form a government after the elections, reportedly following negotiations.

A coalition government will most likely be needed after the September 17 vote given the number of parties set to compete.

The deadline for parties to submit their electoral lists is August 1.

The extreme-right Jewish Power, which many consider a racist, anti-Arab party, is not part of the new alliance but the agreement holds out the possibility of further negotiations.

Netanyahu was harshly criticized ahead of April elections after he brokered a deal that saw Jewish Power run under the Union of Right-Wing Parties.

The premier defended the move at the time, saying it was for practical reasons because he wanted to ensure no right-wing votes were lost to prevent his opponents from winning.

Leading Israeli Arab parties said Saturday they have also formed an alliance to contest the general election, the latest merger of smaller parties seeking to oust Netanyahu.

There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu on Monday’s deal, but an official of his Likud party speaking on condition of anonymity criticized it for not including “all the parties on the right.”

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