Otzma Yehudit candidates Itamar Ben Gvir (left) and Michael Ben Ari (right)
Otzma Yehudit candidates Itamar Ben Gvir (left) and Michael Ben Ari (right)Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Friday issued a criticism of the union between the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit parties, which had been brokered by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

AIPAC tweeted a statement by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) against the union and added, “We agree with AJC. AIPAC has a longstanding policy not to meet with members of this racist and reprehensible party.”

The AJC had come out against the Jewish Home-Otzma Yehudit agreement on Thursday, saying in a statement, “The views of Otzma Yehudit are reprehensible. They do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel. The party might conceivably gain enough votes to enter the next Knesset, and potentially even become part of the governing coalition.”

“Historically, the views of extremist parties, reflecting the extreme left or the extreme right, have been firmly rejected by mainstream parties, even if the electoral process of Israel’s robust democracy has enabled their presence, however small, in the Knesset.”

“Ultimately, it is up to Israel’s Central Elections Commission to determine, as it has done in the past, whether Otzma Yehudit can be listed on the ballot on Election Day. Looking ahead to April 9, AJC reaffirms our commitment to Israel’s democratic and Jewish character, which we hope will be the ultimate winners in every election cycle,” said the AJC.

According to the deal, Otzma Yehudit received the fifth and eighth seats in the unified bloc of the Jewish Home and National Union. Following the elections, the parties will split and operate independently.

As part of the agreement, the Jewish Home-National Union faction will receive two significant ministerial positions, with the two sides already talking about the education portfolio.

In addition, Netanyahu promised to secure the 28th place on the Likud list for a representative of the Jewish Home-National Union, and after the elections the representative would be transferred to the united party. That representative is Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)