Interior Minister and Yamina party Chairperson Ayelet Shaked are expected to officially announce on Wednesday her joining with Communications Minister and Derech Eretz Chairperson Yoaz Hendel [Handel] in a new party that’s yet to be named, Israeli media reported.
Is Eretz Yamina taken?
The union follows the latest string of public opinion polls that show neither party getting even close to the 3.25% vote threshold (from below).
The two leaders are expected to deliver a conciliatory message to Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, saying they do not rule out joining his coalition government, should he succeed in forging one. But they will also announce that they prefer and would do everything in their power to establish a unity government and not a narrow, right-wing government.
Former Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana is not expected to be included on the Shaked and Hendel list and has already attacked his former boss, Shaked, warning that she would not hesitate to bring Bibi back if her political fortune depended on it.
Srugim quoted Kahana as telling his close associates: “In reality, a vote for Shaked is a vote for Bibi. I am not willing to be in a party that might return Netanyahu to power.”
Shaked is expected to keep the no. 1 slot and Hendel will get the second. Hendel’s long-time partner MK Zvi Hauser is expected to get the fourth spot, after Deputy Minister Abir Kara from Yamina.
So far, the negotiating teams of both parties have announced: “We are doing our best to close the ends as soon as possible so that we can bring a new spirit to Israel.”
If that new spirit is, “Gevald, we’re not gonna make it on our own,” they’re on the money.