'Splitting the Right was a mistake'

Dep. Defense Minister laments Yamina's failure to unify Right, expresses hope Liberman will have change of heart regarding rightist gov't.

Ben Shaul ,

Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan
Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan
Hezki Baruch

Deputy Defense Minister and outgoing MK Eli Ben-Dahan (Yamina) expressed regret over the Yamina party’s failure to unite all of the factions to the right of the Likud, calling the decision to leave Otzma Yehudit out of the joint list a mistake.

“We didn’t get the results we wanted in this last election,” Ben-Dahan told Radio Kol Hai. “The split in Yamina was a mistake,” continued Ben-Dahan, alluding to the failure of Yamina to reach an agreement with Otzma Yehudit which would create a single united list.

“We need to learn from United Torah Judaism, which works together despite disagreements between the factions.”

Otzma Yehudit, which ran on the joint United Right ticket in April, had requested the fifth slot on the Yamina ticket, while Yamina officials offered Otzma the eighth slot. After the two sides failed to reach a compromise, Otzma ran independently, receiving just over 83,000 votes – far below the roughly 144,000 needed to enter the Knesset. Yamina received seven seats, significantly less than pre-election polls had suggested.

Turning to former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman and the Yisrael Beytenu party, Ben-Dahan said he was still optimistic Liberman could have a “change of heart” regarding his campaign pledge not to help build a narrow right-wing government.

“Deep down, I have hope that Liberman will have a change of heart. I worked with him in the Defense Ministry, and he doesn’t hate haredim. It’s all politics.”

“When Liberman will understand that the Arab parties are the biggest backers of Gantz, he will be forced to stand on the other side.”