MK Uri Ariel (National Union) predicts that a united religious-Zionist party will garner 10 Knesset seats in the upcoming election.
He told Arutz Sheva that the Ichud Leumi (National Union or NU) decided to convene its Central Committee and select its Knesset candidates' list a few days after the Jewish Home primaries – the first stage of which is scheduled for Tuesday – on purpose. This way , he explained, the NU will be better able to "balance out" the unified list, taking into account the character of the list elected by the Jewish Home.
Ariel said an effort is being made to unite with MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad. "We want everyone together, so that we become a National Union, and then we will unite with the Jewish Home and maximize our strength.
Ariel estimated that the return of Aryeh Deri to the leadership of Shas enhance the NU's electoral strength, because Deri is considered "the architect of Oslo." Right-wing hareidim, like the members of the Chabad stream, are very unhappy with Deri's return, he explained.
The merging of Yisrael Beytenu with Likud should also push disappointed religious Likudniks into the NU's arms, he said. The reason is that Lieberman's party is considered anti-religious.