Ariel and Yishai Meet as Jewish Home Split Looms

Yishai meets Ariel for first time after forming new party; Ariel expected to decide on whether or not to leave Jewish Home by weekend.

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar ,

Eli Yishai, Uri Ariel
Eli Yishai, Uri Ariel
Flash 90

After having met previously to discuss the possibility of a joint election campaign, Yachad party head Eli Yishai met with Tekuma/National Union chairperson Uri Ariel on Tuesday for the first time since Yishai split from Shas to form his own party the day before.

The meeting in Jerusalem lasted for an hour and a half, during which the two discussed a joint Knesset list, how various roles would be divided, and the possibility of putting female MKs on the joint list - Tekuma's Orit Struk is an MK, whereas Yachad as a hareidi party is generally opposed to the idea of female MKs, at least in its own party.

That last issue was apparently surmounted given that Struk will run in Tekuma's party, which would function independently on a joint list with Yachad.

Ariel's meeting with Yishai came the same Tuesday in which he met with Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett, the latest in a marathon series of last minute meetings to try and save Tekuma's union with Jewish Home.

Even after the meeting with Bennett, which lasted about an hour, the two reached no conclusions, and a final decision about Tekuma possibly breaking from Jewish Home is expected as early as the end of this week.

The falling out between Ariel and Bennett comes on the background of talk of an ideological rift between them and disagreements over primaries, with Tekuma members accusing Jewish Home of becoming a "Likud B" as it more actively caters to the secular and Druze public. There is also a political element to the row; Ariel wants a certain number of positions on the next Knesset list to be reserved for his faction's members, while Bennett is insisting all but Ariel and possibly one other Tekuma MK must run in the Jewish Home party primaries.

Yishai's Yachad party took half of Shas's electorate power, with a recent poll giving it four seats. A poll from last week anticipated that Yishai and Ariel together could expect at least seven mandates.