Rafi Peretz insists on leading United Right list

Jewish Home chairman Rafi Peretz backs alliance with other right-wing parties - but insists he must lead the ticket.

Hezki Baruch ,

Rafi Peretz
Rafi Peretz
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Education Minister Rafi Peretz (United Right) expressed support Tuesday morning for the formation of a broad alliance of right-wing parties ahead of the September 17th election – but insists he must lead the United Right ticket, regardless of who chooses to run with it.

Speaking on the “Kalman Liberman” show on Reshet Bet Tusday morning, Peretz said he would work to unify the parties to the right of the Likud ahead of the elections to the 22nd Knesset, but added that potential allies joining the ticket would have to accept his leadership.

Peretz distanced himself from recent comments by United Right MK Moti Yogev, who attacked former Jewish Home chief Naftali Bennett, accusing him of “betraying” Religious Zionism.

“I’m opposed to this kind of talk,” said Peretz Tuesday, “we need to speak respectfully and focus on the issues, not the people. The Religious Zionist movement owes a lot to Naftali, he did a great deal of good work.”

“He also left us in complicated circumstances, though we moved forward. But a person is judged by the majority of [his actions], and we definitely plan to find a way to unite the entire Right together.”

After narrowly failing to cross the electoral threshold with the New Right party, former Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett has announced plans for a new bid for the Knesset. Bennett has suggested his party could run as part of a larger ticket, broaching the idea of running with either the Zehut party of Moshe Feiglin, the United Right – or both.

A number of recent polls show both Bennett and fellow New Right member and former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked leading Peretz among right-wing voters as the preferred leader for the United Right ticket.

In one recent survey, Shaked topped the list of potential candidates with 40.1% of Religious Zionists favoring the ex-Justice Minister, compared to 19% who preferred Bennett, 15.2% who chose Bezalel Smotrich, and just 14.8% who preferred Education Minister Rafi Peretz.