Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Rightwing Union) said in a closed meeting that he is ready to give up the Justice portfolio in the next coalition to Ayelet Shaked (no discernible party affiliation at the moment), should Benjamin Netanyahu be chosen to put together the next government, Reshet Bet radio reported Monday morning. Smotrich sent a similar message to Shaked herself.
Needless to say, to date, Netanyahu, who fired Shaked alongside her former partner Naftali Bennett, has refused to grant the Justice portfolio to Smotrich, going with Likud MK Amir Ohana instead.
Smotrich also announced that he was willing to give up his second place slot on the Rightwing Union slate to Shaked, in an attempt to persuade her to join the slate in the upcoming elections.
Shaked is due to return to Israel on Monday or Tuesday after a much-needed vacation in the Rocky Mountains, ready to re-open negotiations with the rightwing parties, with an agenda we described yesterday: “Shaked Insists on 5-Party rightwing Slate, Including Otzma Yehudit.”
Shaked is considered the brightest rock star of the religious Zionist right, mainly because she is not religious (she is plenty Zionist).
A senior official in Naftali Bennett’s New Right party told Kipa on Sunday that his party would not settle with any other party this coming week, but wait until the deadline Bennett had set for negotiations, for fear of leaks. However, should an agreement be reached, they would make an announcement at once, for fear of leaks. The same official also suggested no real deal is expected.
Probably for fear of leaks.
A few weeks ago, Naftali Bennett’s party announced they were suspending their negotiations: “In light of the many false announcements regarding the negotiations, from now until July 15 we will not deal with negotiations, idle discussions about connections, leaks, positions and roles, but will focus instead on bringing as many votes as possible to the movement and the bloc. Beginning July 15, we will renew the negotiations with the various parties and form a large rightwing front by the time the final lists are submitted.”
Last week, Zehut chairman Moshe Feiglin, whose party did not cross the threshold on April 9, presented an ultimatum to Naftali Bennett, whose party, with 138,598 votes did not cross the threshold on April 9, according to which if by the end of last week Bennett did not agree to holding primaries to pick which of them would head their combined slate, Zehut would run alone, and presumably leave its 118,000 votes in the dumpster.
Meanwhile, a petition was filed on Sunday against the candidacy of MK and former deputy DM Eli Ben Dahan on the Habayit Hayehudi slate, and his placement in the fourth place on said slate.
The petition is expected to be summarily dismissed.
Ben Dahan last February resigned from Habayit Hayehudi after being invited to run on the Likud list as a gesture from PM Netanyahu to his friends in Habayit Hayehudi. But in order to reunite with Habayit Hayehudi, Ben Dahan had to show an 18-months membership, which he can’t under Newtonian law.
In the meantime, Smotrich, Rafi Peretz and Bennett maintain their disagreement over the inclusion of Otzma Yehudit – the fellows who insist they do not endorse the views of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane but they really do.
To date, Ayelet Shaked and Bezalel Smotrich want Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir on the slate, Rafi Peretz and Naftali Bennett don’t. So, like Feiglin, Otzma Yehudit will take their ball and go home, losing an estimated 70,000 rightwing, Zionist votes.
According to Makor Rishon, senior Habayit Hayehudi and National Union members made it clear this week that they would not cuddle Bennett should he decide on a second solo run, and would attack him head on.
“Bennett needs to know that in this election campaign, he is either running with us or staying home,” they said.
So many dancers, such a tiny dance floor and such few potential supporters. A pathetically unreliable poll last Friday gave them 19 seats (never gonna’ happen), but in reality they could play this out to keep everyone away from the next Knesset.