'If the right doesn't unite, we'll lose seven seats'

Likud's MK Bitan says the right-wing bloc needs two smaller parties to pass the threshold. Unity? 'Blue and White has to accept Netanyahu.'


David Bitan
David Bitan
Esti Dazyobov, TPS

MK David Bitan (Likud) on Tuesday warned that if the parties to the right of the Likud do not join together, the right-wing bloc will lose seven Knesset seats.

Speaking to 103 FM Radio, Bitan said: "I think that two are better than one - there's the Torani Religious Zionists, there's the liberal right. If they run as a single list, the right will lose votes."

Bitan explained that a merger between the United Right and the New Right "doesn't offer much, and won't bring in much."

"Everyone starts high and ends low - last time we all heard that the Jewish Home will win 13 Knesset seats, and they ended up with eight. At the end of the day, things are disappointing."

He added: "What I'm saying is that Otzma Yehudit should be with the United Right, and [Moshe] Feiglin's Zehut should be with the New Right, and then we won't lose votes. And if that doesn't happen, it could be that [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu will intervene. He doesn't intervene...in who heads the party, he intervenes to make sure that there are mergers the way they should be. Because if there aren't mergers and we lose seven seats in these elections, like what happened in the last elections, it's not good for the right. So we will intervene but we can't offer what we once offered, we can't offer them seats in the Likud, that for sure not."

Regarding the fact that MK Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu no longer promises to support Netanyahu's candidacy, Bitan said: "We just need two parties on the right to pass the threshold, to make up for the fact that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu isn't there anymore. And if that happens then we can do what we need to do."

"These elections are going to be tougher because we've lost Liberman, who was part of the equation and now he's no longer part of the equation."

If neither bloc can form a coalition, Bitan said: "The Blue and White cannot dictate who will lead the Likud. That's not something that they can decide. It doesn't work that way. Anything could happen but at the end of the day they are not the ones who decide who leads the Likud."

"There won't be a unity government that way. One thing needs to be clear: Just like there's pressure on us, there's pressure on them as well.... At any rate, next time, they'll work it out regardless of whether they're for or against Netanyahu. Everyone understands that we need to create a situation in which there won't be a third round of elections. We believe we won't end up in that situation in the first place, but we'll see what happens."