Yishai – Ben Ari Talks at Impasse

Otzma Yehudit wants 4th and 6th spots reserved for it in joint list and demands Temple Mount issue as a plank in the platform.

Hezki Baruch, Gil Ronen ,

Eli Yishai, Rabbi Meir Mazuz
Eli Yishai, Rabbi Meir Mazuz
Yaakov Naumi/Flash 90

Merger talks between Eli Yishai's Yachad - Ha'am Itanu party and Otzma Yehudit under former MK Michael Ben Ari have reached an impasse, Arutz Sheva has learned.

Two issues are the main stumbling blocks before an agreement that would enable the two small parties to join forces and increase their chances of passing the minimum threshold.

First – after it seemed that Ben Ari would be content with a reserved 6th spot in the list, it turns out he wants to reserve the 4th spot for his faction as well.

Second – Ben Ari demands that the issue of allowing Jews to ascend freely to the Temple Mount be a plank in the party platform. Rabbi Meir Mazouz, the spiritual head of Ha'am Itanu, refuses.

Arutz Sheva has also learned that Rabbi Mazouz is making efforts to get Rabbi Haim Amsalem, a former Shas MK, to join the list as well. Rabbi Amsallem is a longtime follower of Rabbi Mazouz.

Rabbi Mazouz sees no problem in the union between Yishai – who headed Shas for many years – and Amsallem, who left the party and was denounced by Yishai and the other Shas MKs in very harsh terms.

Amsallem scorns Shas's leaders for sending their sons to Ashkenazi yeshivas instead of being proud of their Sephardic heritage. He also thinks yeshiva students should have regular jobs, and says this has been the Sephardic tradition.