Likud MK Hints Bennett Likely to be in Coalition
MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) hinted broadly Tuesday that despite the recent confrontations between her party and the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) under Naftali Bennett, Bennett will likely be a part of the next coalition.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Hotovely stressed that Likud is the party with the most experience and the most "ideological steadfastness," but added that "any person who sees the Jewish people's natural right to its land as sacrosanct" is a natural ally in the next coalition. She also noted that Bennett has withdrawn comments that were interpreted as supporting refusal of orders in the military.
Hotovely conceded that "the real rival" in this election is the left-liberal camp, but that it is difficult to attack Labor's Shelly Yechimovich because she is "disguising herself" as a right winger.
She insisted that the real way for the religious-Zionist public to make inroads into the government is through Likud and not through a "sectoral" or "niche" (party that appeals to a specific population, ed.) party. However, she conceded toward the end of the interview that "religious Zionism" would likely be represented in the next government – a clear hint at Bayit Yehudi.
Likud's religious Zionist MKs, including Hotovely, tread a fine line when talking about Bennett because, on the one hand, they want religious Zionists to vote Likud and not for Bayit Yehudi; but on the other hand, they stand to alienate religious Zionists if they attack Bayit Yehudi too strongly or hint that the next coalition could be based on a deal struck with the center-left.