Nixing right-wing merger, New Right announces independent run

Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s party says it won’t merge with others ahead of March elections, saying there’s room for 2 national religious parties to Likud’s right

By JACOB MAGID, TOI 13 January 2020,

Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett at a press conference in Ramat Gan, where the former was announced as the new head of the New Right party, on July 21, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett at a press conference in Ramat Gan, where the former was announced as the new head of the New Right party, on July 21, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The New Right party announced on Monday that it would be running independently in the upcoming election in March, officially putting to bed the possibility of a broad alliance of national religious parties to the right of Likud.

“The New Right will run independently in the upcoming election as the party of the ideological and liberal right-wing,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s faction said in a statement.

“This is the right-wing bloc’s only chance of reaching 61 seats [in the Knesset],” the party said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in recent weeks encouraged Bennett’s New Right, Rafi Peretz’s Jewish Home, Bezalel Smotrich’s National Union and Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit to all run on a united slate of right-wing, national religious parties in order to avoid a scenario in which one or more of the small right-wing parties fail to cross the electoral threshold.

Bennett, by contrast, has maintained that the right-wing bloc is large enough to support two national religious parties to the right of Netanyahu’s Likud — one that is slightly more moderate on social issues and campaigns on the notion of religious-secular partnership as the New Right has done, and another that is more expressly religious and more hardline on social issues.

Union of Right Wing Parties candidates (from L-R) Rafi Peretz, Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich on April 9, 2019. (Courtesy)

In the elections last April, Bennett’s New Right party, which he founded with Ayelet Shaked after bolting Jewish Home, failed to cross the electoral threshold. In the subsequent September parliamentary race, New Right agreed to merge with his old party, creating the Yamina alliance led by Ayelet Shaked, which went on to win seven seats.

However, since that election, Bennett was named defense minister and enjoyed a boost in most public opinion surveys as a result. The rejuvenated lawmaker subsequently has concluded that he and Shaked are strong enough to risk another independent run in the March 2 national vote.

In the New Right’s Monday statement, it pointed out that despite Yamina’s September success the broader right-wing, religious bloc still fell six seats short of a majority in the Knesset, picking up just 55 seats, which ultimately prevented Netanyahu from replicating the coalition he has maintained since 2015.

New Right said it had “taken it upon itself” to bring in voters from the Yisrael Beytenu secular, right-wing party as well as the Blue and White centrist alliance. It has already released a series of attack ads against Avigdor Liberman in recent weeks, claiming the Yisrael Beytenu chairman had been all talk and no action during his time as defense minister as opposed to Bennett. Similar ads have targeted members of Blue and White’s right-wing Telem faction, accusing its members of pretending to be right-wing.

The announcement from New Right also leaves National Union chairman Bezalel Smotrich all but forced to join the Jewish Home-Otzma Yehudit alliance that was formed last month in what was widely viewed as part of an effort to sidestep the more popular Smotrich.

(L-R) Ayelet Shaked, Naftali Bennett, Bezalel Smotrich and Rafi Peretz announcing a merger between religious right-wing parties, to be called United Right, July 29, 2019. (Courtesy)

Smotrich had campaigned for the holding of an open primary for a united national religious slate in which polls indicated that the National Union leader and transportation minister would fare better than any of the other leaders of national religious parties.

While the merger with Otzma Yehudit angered the more moderate flank of Jewish Home uncomfortable with aligning with a slate of self-described disciples of the extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, the agreement allowed Peretz to keep his post as chairman while only offering the deputy spot to Smotrich.

Smotrich, who had been in talks with New Right about possibly merging with them instead, was reportedly warming to the idea of restoring a partnership with Peretz’s Jewish Home after weeks of resistance as of Monday evening.

“After the union on the left, but also regardless of it, we must all unite, end-to-end. I continue to strive for this today, through every possible path,” Smotrich said in a statement earlier Monday, referring to a merger between Labor-Gesher and Meretz.

January 14, 2020 | 45 Comments » | 1,038 views

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

45 Comments / 45 Comments

  1. Since this post, Bennet and Shaked have suddenly reversed themselves and announced that they will be running with Bazalel Smotrich’s party. Bibi is also putting pressure on them to unite their list with those of Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit. He has even suggested that he might fire Bennett as defense minister This seems to me to be an unreasonable demand, because Smotrich has refused to run with these two parties, and vice versa.

  2. Although President Rivlin declared the Knesset dissolved when it could not reach agreement on a new government or a prime minister to head it, the “dissolved” ex-Knesset’s majority has decided it still exists, and has reconvened in order to deny Bibi’s immunity request. It also intends to form new committees, introduce and pass legislation, fund government programs, etc., all as if it still exists as a legal body-which it doesn’t. The Knesset’s’ legal advisor” has permitted this outrageous illegality, and the Supreme Court has upheld it.

    The Supreme Court has also rejected a petition from the Likud that pointed out that the Knesset “legal advisor” is the husband of one of the prosecution team that is prosecuting Bibi, and hence he has a conflict of interest. Although this is obviously true, the Supremes rejected this argument without even considering it for more than a day.

    Israel’s survival requires the removal of the ‘justices” of the Supreme Court, and all of the government lawyers and prosecutors who they directly or indirectly appoint. Israel needs a total reform of its legal system to upholld the rule of law, rather than the present system where judges and frree to rule according to their “consciences,” without any regard for the laws.

  3. Bennet, Shaked (New Right) merged with Smotrich (National Union) but not with Jewish Home and Otzma.

    In a poll just done Bennett, Shaked & Smotrich would get 87% of the Religious Zionist voters and the Jewish Home just 11% with 2% going to Haredi parties.

  4. The latest news from Arutz Sheva is that Bennett has refused to bring Rafi Peretz of Jewish Home and Itamar Gvir of Otzma Yehudit onto the right-wing unity ticket, because Ben-Gvir is an admirer of the late Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who perpetrated the massacre at the Machpela in Hebron more than 25 years ago. This is outrageous virtue-signaling by Bennet wqhich will doom the Right’s electoral chances on March 2. Preventing a complete leftist-Arabist takeover of the Israeli government is obviously more important than Bennett’s avoiding sharing an electoral slate with someone he considers a sinner. I am ashamed of Bennett that he cannot see this obvious fact. Every Yom Kippur, the heavenly court grants us permission to pray with sinners; why can’t Bennett run for the Knesset with someone he thinks has sinful opinions. What’s with Bennett? The left never allows their need for virtue-signaling to interfere with their doing what is in their interest and that advances their agenda. They only virtue-signal when it costs them nothing. Why does Bennett put his desire to feel himself morally pure over saving Israel from disaster? Up till now I have admired Bennett. I approve of his actions as Defense minister. But now I can’t admire him all that much.

  5. @ Adam Dalgliesh:Bennett is open to Rafi Peretz and the Jewish Home but not Ben-Gvir.

    There is also a calculation that some who would vote for the New Right would not vote for it it Gvir was part of it.

    Last poll showed the New Right with Bennett, Shaked, Smotrich at the top of the ticket getting 87% of the Religious Zionist Votes and the Jewish Home with Peretz and Gvir getting only 7%.

    Rafi Peretz and Ben Gvir do not have good reputations. Peretz daily makes remarks that stick both feet down his own throat, getting him bad press even from conservative writers.

    I think if Bibi wants Ben Gvir to run on a bigger ticket he should join the Likud (did this two elections ago). That is what Bennett suggested and I agree with him.

    The New Right without Ben Gvir has the chance to pull votes from Yisrael Betenyu and Blue and White but not with him. It is a political decision and I understand why Bennett is making it. Do you want some on your ticket who may drag it down? His calculation is he does not. Last election Ben-Gvir had a chance to join (when Shaked was #1) but he made a huge scene at the party registration office and refused the 2 positions he was offered on the list. The first was very likely and the second less so.

    It is not at clear objectively that adding Ben-Gvir would add more seats to the New Right. That is the whole objective, no?

  6. Bennett: I will not include anyone who honors a mass murderer
    Defense Minister Naftali Bennett refuses to bow to pressure from Likud to run with Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir.

    Bennett
    Defense Minister Naftali Bennett lashed out at critics who demanded that he agree to run with the Otzma Yehudit party.

    “I will not include in my list anyone who holds in his living room a picture of a man who murdered 29 innocent people,” Bennett wrote in reference to Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir. Ben Gvir has a picture of Baruch Goldstein, the man who committed the 1994 Hevron Massacre, in his living room.

    “It’s so self-evident that I’m amazed that I have to explain it at all,” Bennett added..

    “Imagine an American congressman hanging on the wall of his house a picture of someone who murdered dozens of Jews in a synagogue during prayer. Does that make sense to you?” he asked.

    “I don’t care how much they bug me. It doesn’t even occur to me. It will not happen. This is my final decision,” Bennett declared.

    “Likud’s call for me to list Ben Gvir under my leadership is inappropriate. My Likud friends — if you so desire it, run with him yourselves.”

    Bennett described his problems with the Otzma Yehudit party in general. “There are some ideological lines. Instead of building, they are breaking. Instead of fixing, they are rioting. This is a deep contempt for the State of Israel and its institutions, disdain for IDF commanders and security forces. In their view, violence is fine. Passing workshops to lawbreakers on how to hang in the researchers is a blessing. Friends, it is terrible.”

    “We did not return from exile to the land of Israel to live like unruly militias who do justice to themselves. It’s not right. It’s anarchy.

    “In my opinion, there is no difference between price tag criminals attacking soldiers and the anarchist left criminals who throw stones at IDF soldiers.

    We believe in the State of Israel, even when we see its flaws. We are working to reform the country; Don’t ruin it.”

  7. Netanyahu holds emergency meeting with Bennett, Peretz
    PM meets leaders of right-wing parties in last-ditch attempt to unify right-wing list.

    Bennett and Rabbi Peretz
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a last-minute emergency meeting with Ministers Naftali Bennett and Rabbi Rafi Peretz Wednesday evening in an effort to secure a unified right-wing list before the 10 PM deadline to submit the party lists.

    The ministerial meeting was held in good spirits, but they were unable to reach agreement on the controversial main issue: the inclusion of Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir in the list.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu invited the two to a meeting in Hola and also asked Rabbi Haim Druckman to come to Jerusalem specifically to take part in it.

    “New Right leader Naftali Bennett explained earlier Wednesday that he could run in the same list as Ben Gvir due to Ben Gvir having a picture of Baruch Goldstein, the perpetrator of the 1994 Hevron Massacre, in his living room.”

  8. Min Levin: This is irresponsible conduct by religious Zionist parties

    Minister Yariv Levin strongly criticized the religious Zionist parties before the submitting of the Likud list to the Election Commission.

    “What else needs to happen for people to come together? Could it be that for the third time we will lose hundreds of thousands of votes? The moment of decision has come – is what matters ego? A picture in a living room or the Land of Israel?,” Levin said.

  9. @ Adam Dalgliesh:
    Will Peretz and company accept the offer to the Jewish to join forces from the New Right? Polls indicate that the Jewish Home joining with the New Right would add about one seat to the ticket. So the offer of a secure 2nd seat, a very possible 7th seat and iffy 8th seat are generous.

    Reports indicate that the following proposal was made to the Jewish Home in a bid for a joint run in a meeting between Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right) and Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home) that was mediated by the Prime Minister

    in a united list the Jewish Home would receive the 2,7,8 spots on the united list.

    If they do not accept this offer then Rafi Peretz will likely not be in the Knesset.

  10. A United Right List was filed-without Ben Gvir. So Rafi Peretz will join with the New Right. Bibi had told that he would not be in the Knesset if he did not agree to the proposal of Bennett.

    Matan Kahane would have resigned from the list if Ben-Gvir was part of it.

    The above are the latest reports.

  11. The latest from Arutz Sheva:

    Ben Gvir: Rabbi Peretz stabbed me with a knife
    Otzma Yehudit chairman outraged after religious Zionist leaders again decide to run without him.

    Video Player

    ?? ????: ????????? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ?????:???? ????. ?????:???? ????

    Otzma Yehudit leader Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir on Wednesday evening made a statement following the decision of Jewish Home chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz to abandon the agreement with Otzma Yehudit and run with the New Right party.

    “He who is called the Minister of Education stuck a knife in my back and in the back of 84,000 people who supported me. It was not only him but all the politicians in religious Zionism – [Bezalel] Smotrich, [Naftali] Bennett and [Ayelet] Shaked – all of them played a part,” Ben Gvir said.

    “They told us how much they wanted and how wrong it was that Ben Gvir was running alone. We did everything to run together. These people are not interested in ideology, only in ego. It’s a bunch that doesn’t deserve leadership,” he added.

    Defense Minister Naftali Bennett earlier on Wednesday refused outright to run in the same list as Ben Gvir.

    “I will not include in my list anyone who holds in his living room a picture of a man who murdered 29 innocent people,” Bennett wrote in reference to Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir. Ben Gvir has a picture of Baruch Goldstein, the man who committed the 1994 Hevron Massacre, in his living room.

    “It’s so self-evident that I’m amazed that I have to explain it at all,” Bennett added.

    Ben Gvir later announced that he would remove the picture of Goldstein from his living room, but, following a last-minute meeting between New Right leader Naftali Bennett, Rabbi Peretz, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, it was decided that the New Right, Jewish Home and National Union would all run together, leaving Ben Gvir outside looking in.

    Bennett’s sanctimoniousness still has me holding my nose. A lot of rightist voters, including some who don’t especially like the Kahanists, are still going to be shocked by Rafi Peretz’s breach of promise, and By Bennett, Bibi and Shaked having pressured him into it.They and may either stay home or waste their vote on Ben-Gvir as a protest.

  12. Yamina Recreated.
    The Religious Zionists have a strong list which also contains several strong women. This list should get the maximum amount of votes possible for those to the right of Likud.

    Minister Naftali Bennett will lead the list and Minister Peretz will be placed second. Ayelet Shaked will be third, followed by Minister Bezalel Smotrich. In fifth place will be Matan Kahane followed by Ophir Sofer. The seventh and eighth places will be given to the Jewish Home and ninth place to the New Right.

    This is the unified list presented by the New Right, Jewish Home and National Union for the Knesset:

    1. Naftali Bennett.

    2. Rabbi Rafi Peretz.

    3. Ayelet Shaked.

    4. Bezalel Smotrich.

    5. Matan Kahana.

    6. Ofir Sofer.

    7. Idit Silman.

    8. Sara Beck

    9. Shirley Pinto.

    10. Orit Strook.

    11. Shuli Mualem.

    12. Yossi Cohen.

    13. Shai Maimon.

    14. Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan.

    15. Ronnie Sassover.

    16. Yom Tov Halfon

  13. Bennett’s decision and his explanation for it reflects the view of Israelis that Israel should be a neutral arbiter between Arab abd Jewish extremists, without taking sides between them This is not a viable attitude when most of the Arab world as well as Iran are at war with Israel, as are the Palestinians. In a war, it doesn’t pay to be too sanctimonious or moralistic about people who are on your side. I wish Israelis could learn to put victory over feelings of moral purity. If the Arabs succeed in conquering and destroying Israel, this virtue-signaling and sense of moral purity won’t do us any good.

  14. From today’s Arutz Sheva:
    “Joint List: We are the answer to Ben Gvir in the Knesset
    Leaders of predominantly Arab party declare their goal for the upcoming elections: We hope to achieve 15 seats.
    Hezki Baruch, 16/01/20 03:

    ????: “??????? ?-15 ??????”
    ?????:???? ????

    The leaders of the predominantly Arab Joint List on Wednesday evening announced their goal for the upcoming election as they handed in their slate to the Central Elections Committee.

    “The Joint List is the only address for the Arab electorate and it will achieve 15 seats. We are the answer to [Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar] Ben Gvir in the Knesset,” said MK Ahmed Tibi.

    He attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his attempts to united the right-wing parties into one slate.

    “The convicted Prime Minister from Balfour is doing everything to get the Kahane representative into the Knesset in order to get immunity. He is even ready to hang Goldstein’s picture in the Prime Minister’s office. He should be ashamed,” charged Tibi, in a reference to the fact that Ben Gvir has a picture of Baruch Goldstein, the man who committed the 1994 Hevron Massacre, in his living room”.

    Bibi and Bennett could keep one Ben Gvir out of the Knesset, but not the possibly 15 anti-Zionist Arab “answers” to him. Ben-Gvir in the Knesset would have been at least a small addition to the Zionist “answer” to the anti-Zionist Arab parties. Now the votes for him will be wasted.

  15. @ Adam Dalgliesh:You are entertaining sometimes. I truly appreciate your commentary. You tie simple things into the most convoluted generalizations and disasters.

    Not having Ben-Gvir on the slate of candidates is because he is perceived as off the wall. It does not mean the sky is falling. Though you have again tied no Ben-Gvir in the Knesset as indicating Israel is falling apart.

    Many Israelis including the toughest “settlers” and combat IDF veterans try and get along with all Arabs who act in the manner consistent with co-existence. They will except them as long as they accept that Israel is the Jewish democratic state.
    They do not try and make enemies of those Arabs who co-exist in peace. Yet they have proven themselves in defending Israel.

    They do not approve of Jews on the right or left who attack IDF soldiers or go out of their way to incite Arabs. That is how Ben-Gvir is perceived. He is also viewed as impossible to work with in a political party as he is a grand-stander.

    Now Ben-Gvir can tell his wife to put the picture of Baruch Goldstein back on the living room wall if it was ever taken down.

  16. @ Bear Klein: A really back-handed complement, Bear.

    I have not seen any concrete evidence that Ben-Gvir goes around inciting settlers or anyone else to physically assault Arabs. He has never said that he thinks no Arabs have a right to live in Israel. On the contrary, he has said that the kind of Arabs you describe, who are friendly to Jews and settlers, do have a right to live in Israel.

    One representative of Ben-Gvir’s party in the Knesset won’t make the sky fall. It will not create any threat to the Arab residents of the state or the disputed territories. The government will have no obligation to appoint him to any office in which he would have Arabs in his power, and would be extremely unlikely to do so. If the Israel Knesset can have thirteen to fifteen members who are basically opposed to Israel’s existence of a Jewish state in “Palestine,” who regard themselves as “Palestinians” not Israelis, consider Zionist Jews to be their enemies, and believe they have no right to live in what they regard as an Arab country, then surely it can also have one member who is an overzealous advocate of Jewish power.

    In terms of practical politics, throwing away a Knesset seat and handing it to the leftist bloc, including those 15 anti-Zionist Arabs, makes no sense. In the Knesset, Ben-Gvir would have made some speeches but wouldn’t have had any power. Those fifteen Arabs legislators will give a leftist government the power to carry out unilateral withdrawals from strategic territory vital to the security of the state and its Jewish inhabitants. Which is the bigger threat?

  17. @ Adam Dalgliesh:The political calculation by Bennett and I concur is that Ben-Gvir would not help his party get more votes and would lessen its appeal to many voters. Matan Kahane the third New Right member would have left the party, if Ben-Gvir joined.

    There are about 80,000 potential voters for Otzma and many more who are negative to them and would not vote for a party with them in it. It is a matter of perception.

  18. @ Bear Klein: Bear, I concede your point that there is no guarantee that including Otzma Yehudit in the united Right list would add any MKs to the Right bloc. What most offended me about Bennett’s comments was his moral equation between Jews who are perhaps overzealous in their support for the Jewish character of Israel with Arabs who want a Judenrein “Palestine” and are engaged in terrorism against Jews to achieve this goal. I don’t think a nation engaged in a struggle for its very survival can survive if it make no distinction between sworn enemies and perhaps overzealous or morally flawed supporters. After all, Britain in World War II agreed to an alliance with Stalin in order to defeat Hitler, even though the Stalin regime was a million times more awful than Otzma Yehudit.

    I also was disturbed by Bennett’s equation of Arab terrorist attacks with Jewish “price tag” attacks.While the Arab attacks on Jews are openly supported and financed by Arab governments, including the PLO and Hamas regimes, and by highly organized, and well financed terror organizations, even the existence of a Jewish “price tag” organization has not been proven, despite the Shabak’s allegations to that effect. The overwhelming majority of Jewish attacks on Arabs have been the work of emotionally disturbed individuals, most of them teenagers, acting on their own, and not as part of an organization.

    There is no solid , publicly revealed evidence that there is a shadowy Jewish organization that is responsible for vandalism and terrorism against Arabs in order to achieve a political agenda–which is what the Shabak and the Israeli press mean by “price tag attacks.” There have been over the years many incidents in which Jews have committed vandalism or harassment of Arabs. But these incidents have been only a small fraction of the Arab attacks on Jews . Arab attacks on Jews have caused vastly more casuaties than Jewish attacks on Arabs over the years.

    While the Arab attacks on Jews are openly supported and financed by Arab governments, including the PLO and Hamas regimes, and by highly organized, and well financed terror organizations, even the existence of a Jewish “price tag” organization has not been proven, despite the Shabak’s allegations to that effect. If such an organization even exists, it could not have more than about 25 members, mainly young people with no political influence in Israel and almost no money. No government, certainly not Israel’s government, supports such an organization.

    In view of these facts, Bennett’s suggestion that the Israeli military ‘occupation” forces consider Arab terrorism and Jewish “price tag” attacks as equal threats to the state, should devote equal time and resources to combating both of these evils, and should regard supposed Jewish “price taggers” as just as culpable as Arab terrorists for the Arab-Jewish conflict, is outrageously self-destructive. I supect that Bennett has been brainwashed by senior officers in the”Civil Administration” and the Shabak to believe this dangerous nonsense.

    Again it all comes down to what should be Israel’s priority–survival, or feelings of moral purity and superiority. All too many Israelis choose the second option.

  19. @ Adam Dalgliesh:
    Bennett does consider Israel to be occupying anyone. As he has said numerous times you can not occupy what is yours.

    Bennett in his short time as Defense Minister has done more constructive things than the previous defense ministers combined as this includes Bibi.

    The New Right platform, is:

    Promotion of cooperation between religious and secular Jews.
    The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
    Opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
    Belief in economic liberalism.
    Belief in personal freedom and personal responsibility.
    Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and only of the Jewish people.
    Full civil rights for minorities.

    Promotion of the Jewish tradition and the Jewish character of the state, without coercion.
    Opposition to Judicial activism.
    Promotion of the high-tech industry through a laissez-faire approach.
    Resistance to unnecessary regulation.
    The state should care for those who can not take care of themselves, while those who are able to work must work.

  20. First poll after final lists submitted:

    Channel 12 poll

    Blue and White 34
    Likud 32
    Joint List 13
    Yamina (Bennett) 10 (up 3 from last poll)
    Shas 8
    Labor-Gesher-Meretz 8
    Yisrael Beytenu 8
    UTJ 7

    Otzma got 2.1% of the vote, below the threshold

    Right/religious 57
    Center & Left 42
    Arabs 13
    Liberman – 8

    Suited to be PM
    Netanyahu 40%
    Gantz 38%

  21. @ Bear Klein: Yes, this is his pary’s program as well as Bennett’s personal beliefs. But this does not prelude the possibility that senior military officers in the “Civil(sic) Administration” could have influenced his views on some related matters since he became Defense Minister. Of course he would have to be in frequent contact with the heads of the Civil Administration, including the very pro-Palestinian COGAT, which coordinates Israeli aid to the Palestinians, including the Palestinians of Gaza.

    Bennett’s explanation of why he decided to exclude Otzma Yehudit from the unity list seems to show the influence of the Civil Administration and COGAT. He more or less equates Otzma Yehudit with Arab terrorist organizations and so-called “price-tag” attacks on Arabs by Jews, most of them undertaken by teenagers acting out without any coordination with each other or funding by an organization, with the Arab’s systematic, coordinated, heavily funded and state-sponsored terror attacks. These false equations represent the views of left-leaning officers in the Civil Administration and COGAT.

  22. @ Adam Dalgliesh:You are thinking way too hard and complicating this subject. You are theorizing and frankly do not know what you are talking about.

    I know a lot of people in the party including people close to Bennett. Ben-Gvir has not been his favorite long before he became DM and many people in Religious Zionism would not vote for any party with Ben-Gvir. Bennett wants a party with the broadest possible appeal to Religious-Zionists, Secular Nationalists and those believing in the Land of Israel. Ben-Gvir does not fit a broad appeal. He has more enemies than friends (not good for a politician).

    Ben-Gvir has been considered a trouble maker since he was a youth to the degree that the IDF did not let him in to serve. He is a smart person but not really a team player to be polite. He does a good job as a lawyer helping the hilltop youth who get arrested. I wish him well in continuing this service.

  23. I thought this interchange was funny, especially since it was coming with 100% truth.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in closed talks on Thursday that he fears the leaders of the Yamina faction, Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Bezalel Smotrich, will join Blue and White after the elections and form a government with Benny Gantz, Channel 12 News reported.

    Smotrich responded to Netanyahu with a sarcastic comment on his Twitter account.

    “Netanyahu in closed talks today fears that Smotrich will vote in favor of the expulsion from Gush Katif, deliver the Bar Ilan speech, release thousands of terrorists in the Shalit deal, freeze construction in Judea and Samaria, defend the justice system for ten years and physically prevent any necessary amendment to it, will prevent the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar. That Smotrich is quite the leftist…” he wrote.

    Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that Netanyahu promised to Rabbi Rafi Peretz that he would be appointed as the next Minister of Education, even if he is ousted by the members of the Jewish Home party.

    The promise reportedly came as part of Netanyahu’s pressure campaign on Rabbi Peretz to join Yamina.

  24. It sounds to me like Channel 12 or its “sources” invented this story to stir up trouble between Bibi and the Yamina leaders. Judging from Smotrich’s tweet, it sounds like these journalists have succeeded in driving in wedge between Bibi and Smotrich. In yesterday’s Jerusalem Post, Gil Hoffman presents a conspiracy theory focusing on Bennett that is nearly identical to that which Channel 12 attributes to Bibi. Hoffman claims that Bennett is conspiring to defect to Blue and White following the election, taking the rest of Yamina with him, and eventually become Prime Minister himself. Hoffman makes it plain that he considers this purported conspiracy, which he attributes to Bennett, is a great idea that should be encouraged. I suspect that the very similar conspiracy theory that Channel 12 claims was put out by Bibi in private conversations, is like Hoffman’s conspiracy claims about Bennett fake news, a journalistic invention to stir up trouble in the national camp and promote a Blue-White victory in the election.

    I know of at least one case some years ago in which an Israeli journalist was caught publishing an outrageous invented story, aimed at stirring up trouble between haredim and black immigrants or migrants in Israel. She was fired. But it would not surprise me if many journalists in Israel and elsewhere do this kind of thing and do not get caught.

  25. Both the Channel 12 reporter and Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post describe Bennett as a conniver who objective in rejecting Ben-Geir was not the moralistic ones he gave to the public, but rather his own desire to take control of Yamina.

    Behind the scenes: How Rabbi Rafi Peretz and Itamar Ben Gvir were forced to separate
    Journalist Amit Segal tells what went on behind the scenes and led to Rabbi Peretz breaking his agreement in favor of recreating ‘Yamina.’

    Rabbi Rafi Peretz
    Channel 12’s Amit Segal described what went on behind the scenes prior to the announcement by Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home) that his party will run with Defense Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right) and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (National Union) in a setup reminiscent of the Yamina list which ran in September 2019’s elections.

    In his article in Yediot Aharonot, Segal wrote: “At eight in the evening, there began an operation to separate Peretz and Ben Gvir. In between, reports reached the Prime Minister and Defense Minister regarding the IAF’s attacks in Gaza, but within the office, in the presence of Bennett and Smotrich, there was an incredibly massive bomb dropped on the head of the Jewish Home party.”

    “Religious Zionist rabbis were called into the room. ‘You wanted to hear our opinion, so our opinion is that you should unite.’ When the rabbis didn’t help, the survey experts were called in. Netanyahu called up a senior survey expert, who presented poll showing that the Jewish Home would not pass the electoral threshold. After the survey experts came the threats: ‘I’m going to aim for your head and I’ll tell people not to waste votes on you,’ he warned. The Jewish Home chairman couldn’t stand the attacks. You can assume that this is his last term.”

    Segal also said that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to “push” Ben Gvir into the arms of Bennett and MK Ayelet Shaked, since he sees them as a clear and immediate threat to his political future.

    “He tried to push the element of Ben Gvir on them, to reduce the number of MKs they’d have. He tried and pressured, he threatened to fire, but he discovered that he doesn’t have any leverage with the New Right. Sadly, and with concern that the right will lose hundreds of thousands of votes, he changed direction.

    “Later that night he fumed at Bennett, who he said, ‘wasted two right-wing Knesset seats and acted recklessly.’ But politics is a game of power, and Bennett used it well. He used the Prime Minister as a secondary contractor, he remained in the Defense [Ministry] and achieved his goal of going back to lead the Religious Zionist list.”

  26. I wish to make it clear that I think that Bennett’s decision to veto the inclusion of Otzma Yehudit on the Yamina list was motivated solely by his moral and ethical concerns about this group, and his fear that they might be involved in, or encourage violence. I don’t think selfish concerns or his desire for power for himself played any role in his decision.

    The Channel 12 and Jerusalem Posts depiction of him as a power-hungry, self-seeking conspirator is in my opinion a complete libel.

    My criticism of Bennett was the exact opposite of these Israeli journalists. I think he is being a bit too moralistic in vetoing Otzma Yehudit’s application for a place on the list, and that his decision might not prove to be good electoral politics. I never thought it was selfishly motivated.

    That these Israeli jounalists have misrepresnted Bennett’s motives and intentions tells us nothing about Bennett, but a lot about them and perhaps their editors.

  27. Bennett is a politician and like all politicians he wants to win and have power for what he believes in. Bennett is a self made millionaire many times over having built a successful high tech company and then cashed in big-time.

    He wants to build a broad based right wing party (including Religious Zionist and Secular Nationalists) that will eventually lead him to be the PM. That is his goal. Including an extreme party will eliminate the possible appeal to many Religious Zionists and Secular Nationalists.

    10% of Religious Zionists voted for Blue/White and 25% for Likud. Many right wing secular voters voted Yisrael Betenyu and Likud. If Yamina and Bennett are going to pick off some of these voters they can not be seen as an extreme party. Already having Smotrich and Rafi Peretz in the party is detrimental to the broad appeal of the party. However they have a significant core constituency and two elections ago when Bennett and Shaked did not cross the threshold they were not included.

    Bibi two election cycles ago included Ben-Gvir on his ticket and got major push back but as part of a large party was able to absorb the flack. He may have been pushing Bennett to include Ben-Gvir on the Yamina ticket because then Yamina would be less likely then to pull some of the Likud voters over to them.

  28. @ Bear Klein:

    I will vote as always for Otzma. Anyone or thing Keeping BB from office and control must be supported… Anything denying Trump from imposing his “Deal of the Century” Must be supported as a national imperative. The only real party on the right is Otzma all the others are ersatz right-wing and IMO are political prostitutes who will allow the status quo in all aspects of what is wrong and dysfunctional in the Israeli politic. Bennett is a younger clone and wannabe BB.

  29. @ Bear Klein: I think it was a political blunder on his part to exclude Otzma because now much of Jewish Home is furious with his having broken his agreement with Otzma. That put them in the position of being liars. One leading Jewish Home rabbi who was actually placed on the Yamina list (was it Rabbi Druckmann?) has since announced that he is furious with Rafi Peretz for breaking with Otma and will instead run on Otzma’s ticket. Another prominent member of the Jewish Home party also announced his intention to run with Otzma. Otzma and much of Jewish Home are furious and feel betrayed. They will probably run a spoiler’s campaign that could take many votes away from the national camp. While if Bennett had offered them the “bribe” of a likely Knesset seat, they would have kept quiet. In my mind, a small price to pay to avoid being stabbed in the back.

    If Bennett really wanted to be Prime Minister, he would have joined Likud, where he could have positioned himself to be Bibi’s successor. Or he would have joined Blue-White and worked to be Gantz’s successor. He must know that the leader of a small party has never become Prime Minister of Israel or any democratic country. Many have tried, but none have succeeded. Bennett is shrewd enough to understand this.

    He can accomplish his political goals just as well, and perhaps better, as a long-serving Defense Minister than as Prime Minister.

    His decision to ban Otzma Yehudit from his list was not motivated by political advantage but by his horror at anyone, or any party, that would revere Baruch Goldstein, and/or Meir Kahne, as heroes. Bennett thinks that Otzma are dangerous extremists. He would rather be “right” (in the ethical sense) than Prime Minister.

  30. @ Adam Dalgliesh:Could it be you came up with one of your theories and are now trying to trying and justify it? Your “Moral Theory” sort of like your “Arab Theory”. The Blue/White, Yisrael Betenyu and the Joint Arab List were going to form a coalition. You kept sticking with it and trying to convince (Yourself maybe) that your theory was true.

    One thing you are correct about some in the Jewish Home are mad at Rafi Peretz, as in the merger into Yamina everyone did not get the places they wanted. That is how it goes with party lists. Some get pushed down and some get excluded and some leave mad. Including Ben-Gvir would have pushed Matan Kahane down the list and he is the number 3 in the New Right after Bennett and Shaked. Kahane stated he would leave the party if that happened and thought would have down the party more harm than good.

    Politics is not for the sensitive it is a blood sport. I call it war without the bullets.

    I agree with you that Bennett probably needs to be in the Likud to ever become Prime Minister. Since Bibi pushed him out of the Likud because he saw as a rival he ended up in Bayit Yehudi.

    Bennett in his current role as Defense Minister is doing a very good job. I hope somehow after the elections he can continue in this role. He is proactively getting rid of illegal Arab building in Area C. He also appointed someone to a new post to make sure that active monitoring of illegal building goes on and getting rid of this building.

  31. @ yamit82:Trouble with voting for Otzma is that it most likely a protest vote and has no practical application. Then that is a personal decision.

  32. @ Bear Klein
    I was wrong about whenGantz would become prime minister. But it is not at all certain that I was wrong that it would happen. The polls still make it odds on that he will become prime minister in March, with a lot of help from the A-G, the public prosecutor and the Supreme Court.

    I believed that Gantz would be able to line up the votes needed to form a government after Election number 2, since I assumed that Leiberman wanted his position as Defense minister back, and therefore would agree to a modus vivendi with the Arab parties, or some of them. I didn’t expect him to be as good as his word. After all, he had changed his position on the question of serving in Bibi’s cabinet and serving in a cabinet with haredi representatives in the recent past. It certainly loked like he was preparing to move from the Right bloc to the center-left bloc. My prediction was reasonable although it did prove to be wrong.

    I was grateful to God that my prediction was wrong, since I hoped that Bibi would remain PM. I still do even now. Israel’s well-being is much more important to me than personal pride. If Israel is saved, I will feel no regrets if I am slightly humiliated or embarrassed as a result.

  33. @ Bear Klein:

    Their national support much greater than actual votes…. I think mainly because of the reasoning you stated. Yet if everyone voted their real preference then they would have made it to the Knesset long ago. I am tired of voting for the fake political right of center parties who when in power act with leftist Meretz policies. Golda and most Labor party MK of her time were far to the right of the Likud and most of the National Religious phonies we have today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H27TUyXm8HQ&list=PL158435502B0D6AAA

    Meraglim – 1 of 4

    Meraglim – 2 of 4

    Meraglim-3

    Meraglim-4

  34. @ Adam Dalgliesh:Gantz could become Prime Minister.

    You kept repeating that he would make a coalition with the Arabs. Wrong
    You kept repeating that Liberman would make a coalition with the Arabs. Wrong
    Also wrong that most of the Arabs in the in Joint List would join with the Zionists to form a coalition. – Again Wrong

    You still believe your predictions to be reasonable because you do not sufficiently understand the politicians or their voters. Lack of understanding.

    Gantz could form a collation with any of the Jewish parties. You are correct that this is not desirable.

  35. Parts of an interesting article shown below: Worthwhile to click on the link to see Sharons’s political history as it compares to Naftali Bennet’s


    How Naftali Bennett played his cards right

    IF YOU needed an example of how the political wheel works, all you had to do was watch the dramatic last-minute developments at the Knesset on Wednesday night.

    IF YOU needed an example of how the political wheel works, all you had to do was watch the dramatic last-minute developments at the Knesset on Wednesday night.

    Just minutes before the deadline to submit party lists, Naftali Bennett succeeded in convincing Rafi Peretz to ditch the Kahanists and join his New Right Party in a unified list. Peretz gave in to Bennett’s terms even as Netanyahu was actively pushing Bennett to do the opposite and to merge with Peretz and the Kahanists, a move the New Right leader rejected outright.

    Bennett’s career trajectory over the last year has some similarities to Sharon’s. Fed up with rabbinic intervention, he decided last year to ditch Bayit Yehudi and establish the New Right. Despite flattering polls in the beginning, the party failed to make it into the Knesset after the vote on April 9, missing by a mere 1,300 votes.
    In the weeks after that first election, Netanyahu fired him from the Education Ministry and Bennett was already considering his next move, thinking about going back to hi-tech or taking on a role as the head of a Jewish organization. But then another election was called, and the one-time prime ministerial candidate found himself fighting just to find a spot in his old party, ultimately named to the fourth slot on the Yamina list now headed by Ayelet Shaked. Ahead of him on the slate were his successor as Bayit Yehudi chairman, Rafi Peretz, and National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich.
    To the public it looked like a tough blow for someone who just a few years before was viewed as a potential prime minister in the post-Netanyahu era. Now he was only able to grab the No. 4 position on what appeared to be a marginal religious party.
    But Bennett played his cards right, and in November he succeeded in using the threat of supporting Benny Gantz’s efforts to form a coalition to pressure Netanyahu into naming him defense minister, thus jumping from the fourth spot on his party list to the top of Israel’s defense establishment.
    And then came Wednesday night. Together with his close adviser Tal Gan Zvi, Bennett managed to break up the deal Bayit Yehudi had made just two days earlier with the Kahanist party known as Otzma, cornering Netanyahu and creating a merged list that he now leads with five of the top 10 spots members of the New Right. Quite the ride for someone who just a few months earlier was looking for a job.

    In addition to emerging as the leader of the new right-wing list, Bennett with Gan Zvi also taught the seasoned prime minister a lesson in political dynamics.
    Netanyahu’s future depends on the right-wing staying together, and retaining what was known as the “Bloc of 55” after the September vote. That bloc is what denied Gantz the ability to form a coalition.
    Based on the independence Bennett demonstrated on Wednesday night – his blatant refusal to accept Netanyahu’s directives – the prime minister might not have the defense minister in his pocket after the March 2 election. If Bennett plays his cards right as a free agent and openly considers joining a Gantz-led government, the devastating consequences for Netanyahu could be the difference between remaining in office and standing trial.

    At the very least, Bennett proved Sharon right this week: always stay on the wheel. You just never know where it will take you.

  36. Bear, how do you know he won’t form a “minority coalition” with the Arabs playing a consultative role outside the government? Rabin did this in 1992. Why are you so cock-sure that Gantz won’t follow his example? How can you be sure that Leiberman won’t change his mind and accept a consulative role for the Arabs in a minority government? It’s not as though he has never changed his mind about anything in his long political career. Do you really think his word is sacred to him?

    But I have said all I can about this subject that could possibly be of use to anyone reading this dialogue. I always knew I couldn’t change your mind. You are the kind of person who never changes his mind. If you want the last word in this debate, be my guest.

  37. Part of an interesting article below. Historical parts comparing Sharon’s political resume to Bennett are left out below and worth reading.


    How Naftali Bennett played his cards right

    IF YOU needed an example of how the political wheel works, all you had to do was watch the dramatic last-minute developments at the Knesset on Wednesday night.

    “Always stay on the wheel,” Sharon explained at the time, on how he managed to go from political leper to prime minister. Sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down, the thinking goes, but the important thing is to always hold on to the wheel.

    IF YOU needed an example of how the political wheel works, all you had to do was watch the dramatic last-minute developments at the Knesset on Wednesday night.

    Just minutes before the deadline to submit party lists, Naftali Bennett succeeded in convincing Rafi Peretz to ditch the Kahanists and join his New Right Party in a unified list. Peretz gave in to Bennett’s terms even as Netanyahu was actively pushing Bennett to do the opposite and to merge with Peretz and the Kahanists, a move the New Right leader rejected outright.

    Bennett’s career trajectory over the last year has some similarities to Sharon’s. Fed up with rabbinic intervention, he decided last year to ditch Bayit Yehudi and establish the New Right. Despite flattering polls in the beginning, the party failed to make it into the Knesset after the vote on April 9, missing by a mere 1,300 votes.
    In the weeks after that first election, Netanyahu fired him from the Education Ministry and Bennett was already considering his next move, thinking about going back to hi-tech or taking on a role as the head of a Jewish organization. But then another election was called, and the one-time prime ministerial candidate found himself fighting just to find a spot in his old party, ultimately named to the fourth slot on the Yamina list now headed by Ayelet Shaked. Ahead of him on the slate were his successor as Bayit Yehudi chairman, Rafi Peretz, and National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich.

    To the public it looked like a tough blow for someone who just a few years before was viewed as a potential prime minister in the post-Netanyahu era. Now he was only able to grab the No. 4 position on what appeared to be a marginal religious party.

    But Bennett played his cards right, and in November he succeeded in using the threat of supporting Benny Gantz’s efforts to form a coalition to pressure Netanyahu into naming him defense minister, thus jumping from the fourth spot on his party list to the top of Israel’s defense establishment.

    And then came Wednesday night. Together with his close adviser Tal Gan Zvi, Bennett managed to break up the deal Bayit Yehudi had made just two days earlier with the Kahanist party known as Otzma, cornering Netanyahu and creating a merged list that he now leads with five of the top 10 spots members of the New Right. Quite the ride for someone who just a few months earlier was looking for a job.

    In addition to emerging as the leader of the new right-wing list, Bennett with Gan Zvi also taught the seasoned prime minister a lesson in political dynamics.

    https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editors-Notes-Keep-your-hands-on-the-political-wheel-614430

  38. Cease and Desist:
    I prefer to adhere to the myth I created about Bennet being Netanyahu’s heir apparent after some grand epiphany on the PM’s part subsequent to his untimely indictment.
    If I am correct, Bennet will be P.M. within a few years or sooner.

  39. THis from today’s Arutz Sheva. “The decision of Edelstein to allow the dissolved ex-Knesset to deny Netanyahu immunity has opened up a breach between him and Netanyahu. Perhaps Edelstein hopes to replace Netanyahu as Likud leader if he, Netanyahu, is forced to resign.Yair Netanyahu blasts Knesset Speaker
    PM’s son writes tweet against Edelstein’s father-in-law, deletes it a short time later.

    Yair Netanyahu
    Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, returned to the headlines on Sunday night after he attacked Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Twitter.

    The strongly worded attack came shortly after Edelstein announced that the Knesset will convene next week to begin deliberations on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request for parliamentary immunity.

    “His wife’s father is Leonid Nevzlin. An oligarch who is wanted for murder in Russia, and the owner of the Haaretz newspaper. It is only because of the money he is pouring in that the newspaper has not gone bankrupt,” Yair Netanyahu wrote.

    He deleted the tweet a short while later.

    Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s associates reacted to the Knesset Speaker’s decision, saying, “It is sad to see Edelstein falling into the trap of the left. He allows himself to turn the Knesset into a political circus during an election by lending his hand to the ploys of the leftists who are trying to use the Knesset only to neutralize Netanyahu.”

    “No matter how much the media and the left embrace the Speaker of the Knesset, he will never be able to escape responsibility for this. His decision de facto states that the Prime Minister’s affairs will be decided politically and not as matter-of-factly and judiciously as the law requires,” the associates continued.

    “It is clear to everyone that the left’s craze to discuss Netanyahu’s request stems from two main reasons: One – this will be used in their ‘anyone but Bibi’ election campaign, and two – they are counting on a petition to the court that will determine that Netanyahu cannot be tasked with forming a government after the indictment is filed, as is it is known to everyone that the court has not taken this option off the table. It is undisputed that everything is in Yuli Edelstein’s hands, he can still prevent the terrible injustice that will be inflicted on the Prime Minister, the right and the entire country, it is not too late to fix,” they concluded.

    Edelstein announced earlier on Sunday that the Knesset plenum will convene next Tuesday to begin hearings on Netanyahu’s request, after 25 Knesset Members called on him to bring the immunity request to the Knesset for consideration.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*