(JNS) At press time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party was making a last-ditch effort to unite the country’s right-wing parties ahead of the country’s March 2 election.
Parties failing to clear the 3.25 percent electoral threshold in March will result in votes being wasted, potentially making the difference between a Blue and White or Likud government. By forming joint lists, the smaller parties can ensure this does not happen.
All parties had until midnight Wednesday, January 15, to submit their lists.
“The left has united—they’re not going to lose any votes. Now the right must do everything to prevent wasting votes,” the Likud said in a statement, just hours after the New Right Party led by Naftali Bennett and National Union led by Bezalel Smotrich announced that they would merge for the elections.
With the merger of New Right and National Union and the already-existing unity deal between the Jewish Home Party and the far-right Otzma Yehudit, the four right-wing parties are currently split into two lists.
Likud is reportedly aiming for all the parties to run together in March, with Israel’s Channel 12 news reporting that Netanyahu threatened to fire Bennett as defense minister and Smotrich as transportation minister if they do not agree to run with Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit.