'Rafi Peretz not ruling out Shaked as leader of United Right'

Transportation Minister reveals details of meeting with United Right chief Rafi Peretz, says Peretz prepared to let Shaked lead joint list.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90

Is Education Minister and United Right chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz dropping his opposition to ex-Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked taking the top spot on a joint right-wing ticket?

National Union chairman and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the United Right alliance of rightist parties, revealed Monday morning that Peretz may be prepared to accept Shaked at the top of a joint ticket bringing together the United Right and New Right.

In an interview with Reshet Bet, Smotrich said that neither he nor Peretz had ruled out allowing Shaked to lead a joint ticket of the two parties – an apparent about-face by Peretz, who had long insisted on sitting at the helm of any unified right-wing Knesset slate.

“Anyone could [potentially] be at the top of the list,” said Smotrich. “I’ve always urged everyone not to put pre-conditions” on negotiations between the two parties.

“There are also, of course, considerations regarding values; parties don’t exist just for their own sake.”

Smotrich added that during his meeting with Peretz Sunday afternoon, the United Right chairman said he too would not rule out the possibility of Shaked leading the party.

“If I need to step aside, there can be a two-person leadership,” Smotrich said, referring to Peretz and Shaked. “If you want a four-person leadership, we’ll have a four-person leadership. I can tell you that Rabbi Rafi also doesn’t rule out the possibility of placing Shaked in the top position.”

On Sunday, Ayelet Shaked announced that she would be leading the New Right party, following an agreement with her predecessor, Naftali Bennett.

During a brief address to party activists, Shaked laid out her plans to lead a joint right-wing list, combining the New Right and United Right parties.

“Under my leadership, the New Right party will not be running in the shadow of other parties, but as a party aspiring for the reins of national leadership, and to ensure a right-wing victory.”

“I call… the leaders of the parties to the ideological right of the Likud, some of whom are my good friends: yes there are disagreements between us, but they are nothing compared to the challenges ahead of us. Unity is the moral and ideological Right’s insurance policy, and we have to follow through on it.”

“Together, under my leadership, we will become a powerful force, a force that will lead the Jewish people with strength and faith. A single, large union – an alliance of good people, with healthy values and courageous actions.”