Behind the scenes: How Rabbi Rafi Peretz and Itamar Ben Gvir were forced to separate

Journalist Amit Segal tells what went on behind the scenes and led to Rabbi Peretz breaking his agreement in favor of recreating 'Yamina.'

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Hezki Baruch

Channel 12's Amit Segal described what went on behind the scenes prior to the announcement by Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home) that his party will run with Defense Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right) and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (National Union) in a setup reminiscent of the Yamina list which ran in September 2019's elections.

In his article in Yediot Aharonot, Segal wrote: "At eight in the evening, there began an operation to separate Peretz and Ben Gvir. In between, reports reached the Prime Minister and Defense Minister regarding the IAF's attacks in Gaza, but within the office, in the presence of Bennett and Smotrich, there was an incredibly massive bomb dropped on the head of the Jewish Home party."

"Religious Zionist rabbis were called into the room. 'You wanted to hear our opinion, so our opinion is that you should unite.' When the rabbis didn't help, the survey experts were called in. Netanyahu called up a senior survey expert, who presented poll showing that the Jewish Home would not pass the electoral threshold. After the survey experts came the threats: 'I'm going to aim for your head and I'll tell people not to waste votes on you,' he warned. The Jewish Home chairman couldn't stand the attacks. You can assume that this is his last term."

Segal also said that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to "push" Ben Gvir into the arms of Bennett and MK Ayelet Shaked, since he sees them as a clear and immediate threat to his political future.

"He tried to push the element of Ben Gvir on them, to reduce the number of MKs they'd have. He tried and pressured, he threatened to fire, but he discovered that he doesn't have any leverage with the New Right. Sadly, and with concern that the right will lose hundreds of thousands of votes, he changed direction.

"Later that night he fumed at Bennett, who he said, 'wasted two right-wing Knesset seats and acted recklessly.' But politics is a game of power, and Bennett used it well. He used the Prime Minister as a secondary contractor, he remained in the Defense [Ministry] and achieved his goal of going back to lead the Religious Zionist list."