Bennett Promoting Merger of Right-wing Parties Ahead of Third Israeli Election

The heads of two right-wing parties are negotiating over a joint ticket that would include all the parties to the right of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud ahead of Israel’s March 2 general election.

Hayamin Hehadash Chairman Naftali Bennett and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Rafi Peretz met on Wednesday and on Thursday to discuss the issue.

The joint slate would include the far-right National Union party and the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit. But senior Habayit Hayehudi officials said National Union Chairman Bezalel Smotrich is blocking this idea.

The officials said Smotrich is refusing to run together with Habayit Hayehudi and has even refused pleas to negotiate with Peretz from mediators in the religious-Zionist community. Smotrich has said any union between the two parties – which ran on a joint ticket in the past two general elections – is impossible without a primary to decide whether he or Peretz should head the ticket.


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