The offer made by Smotrich's aides to Bennett and Shaked

National Union members suggested to the New Right: Secure a spot for Smotrich and the Jewish Home central committee will back you.

Ben Ariel ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Aides to Transportation Minister and National Union chairman Bezalel Smotrich proposed to the leaders of the New Right party, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, that they reserve a spot for Smotrich on the party’s slate for the next Knesset and, in return, nearly the entire central committee of the Jewish Home party would join the New Right.

Despite the fact that Smotrich does not belong to the Jewish Home at all, the Yediot Aharonot newspaper reported that most of the main activists in the Jewish Home prefer him to the current chairman, Rabbi Rafi Peretz.

Two weeks ago, Rabbi Peretz and Itamar Ben Gvir of Otzma Yehudit signed an agreement on a joint run in the March 2 election, leaving Smotrich out.

So far, Smotrich has refused to cooperate with the merger on the grounds that this list will not pass the electoral threshold. Instead, he has demanded open primaries for the list or a huge poll in order to gain public trust.

On Thursday evening, Israel’s three main television channels published election polls which presented a bleak outlook for the Religious Zionist list in the next Knesset.

A Channel 12 News poll published on Thursday evening found that if the Jewish Home-Otzma Yehudit alliance cannot convince the National Union, headed by Bezalel Smotrich, to join it for a united ticket, both lists will fail to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.

If, however, the National Union joins the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit, the united ticket would narrowly clear the electoral threshold with four seats.

A second poll, conducted by Kantar for Channel 11, found that a united right-wing ticket of the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit would fail to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold, receiving just 3.0% of the vote.

A third poll, conducted by Dialog for Channel 13, found that the Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma Yehudit ticket (if formed) would receive just 2.9%, below the 3.25% threshold.

In the wake of the polls, pressure was exerted on Rabbi Peretz to agree to hold primaries that will determine the religious Zionist slate for the Knesset, in the hope that such a move will renew the confidence of voters in the party.

For now, however, Rabbi Peretz refuses to agree to the demand, saying that the short time period remaining before the lists are finalized does not allow for primaries to be held.