Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg / Flash 90
Ayelet Shaked in a press conference in Ramat Gan, July 21, 2019.

Ayelet Shaked, chairman of the New Right party, and Rabbi Rafi Peretz, chairman of Habayit Hayehudi, spoke on Monday morning about the prospects of unifying all the right-wing parties, including Otzma Yehudit. The two agreed to meet in the coming days for further coordination.

Shaked said at the end of the meeting: “The responsibility for unity rests on our shoulders, it is the order of the day. I intend to do everything to make it happen.”

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Peretz, too, sounded optimistic: “Habayit Hayehudi has always connected and united, and this time, too, we will do so.”

Sunday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to block Ayelet Shaked from leading a unified right, telling Peretz that it was impossible to know whom the former justice minister would recommend for prime minister.

Which suggests there’s only one supreme, perhaps singular, issue that currently interests the Likud chairman: his hearing at the State Prosecutor’s Office about two weeks after the September elections. Will he be there as a serving PM, albeit one who is busy cobbling a coalition—or will he be facing the charges against him as a mere mortal Likud MK.

In a telephone conversation between Netanyahu and Peretz, the prime minister implored the chairman of Habayit Hayehudi not to give up the first place on a united right-wing slate in favor of Shaked, despite the new polls predicting a serious upward movement for a unified, right-wing, secular-religious Zionist party led by Shaked.

Netanyahu claimed that Shaked would not add any additional seats to the envisioned, new slate. Netanyahu’s wife Sarah met with Rafi Peretz’s wife and asked her personally to prevent a partnership between her husband and Ayelet Shaked.

Minister Bezalel Smotrich proposed a two-pronged leadership of Peretz and Shaked, noting: “If I need to succumb, then let there be a two-headed leadership of both of them. You want a quadruple leadership? Let there be a quadrilateral leadership.”

He then added, “I tell you that Rabbi Rafi does not rule out the possibility of putting Shaked in first place, I spoke to him yesterday.”

Apparently there will be a leadership by one person, Ayelet Shaked, who, after Meretz had decapitated Tamar Zandberg for her April election failure, would be the only female party leader in the next Knesset.

On Sunday night, at the end of a meeting between Shaked and Naftali Bennett, it was decided that the former justice minister would head the New Right, while Bennett stays on as “co-chair.”

The New Right chairwoman invited everyone right-of-center to join the unified right (name pending): “I call my partners here – true, there are disagreements between us, but in the face of the challenges before us, they are meaningless.”

She used the halachic term battel-b’shishim, meaning that if the drop of milk that accidentally fell into your chicken soup constitutes less than 1/60 of the soup it doesn’t count.

Shaked has been quoting a lot of traditional Jewish terms these days – much the way Hillary Clinton used to drop the hard G’s at the end of her sentences the further she got below the Mason-Dixon line.

Not to bore you with polls this early in the campaign, but according to Sunday night’s TV polls, a rightwing union slate headed by Shaked will pluck 12 to 13 votes, many from the Likud (ouch). She could do much better if she took steps to keep the muzzle on her male colleagues, all of them, really, but mostly Rafi, Naftali, Bezalel – whose foot in mouth disease gets worse the closer we get to the vote.

Go get them, Ayelet, and don’t forget The Jewish Press Online that put you there…

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