Otzma Yehudit claims it inked election deal with PM, Likud denies report

Likud denies claims that Otzma Yehudit cut deal Netanyahu to help party cross electoral threshold - in exchange for vow not to run again.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Itamar Ben-Gvir
Itamar Ben-Gvir
Yehonatan Veltzer/TPS

The right-wing Otzma Yehudit party claims that it has cut a deal with the Likud to help the faction cross the electoral threshold in next month’s election, after failing to enter the Knesset in the previous election.

On Wednesday, Yediot Aharonot reported that Otzma chief, attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, has been in talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for an arrangement that would give Otzma Yehudit a chance of crossing the electoral threshold in the March 2nd election.

According to the report, Ben-Gvir has requested that Netanyahu press rabbis in the National Religious sector who privately support Otzma to publically endorse them, shifting thousands of votes to the faction.

In addition, the two sides discussed the possibility of Netanyahu convincing some Hasidic movements aligned with the United Torah Judaism movement to instruct their followers to vote for Otzma, in exchange for some benefits to UTJ in the next government.

In exchange for the Likud’s help, Netanyahu reportedly demanded that if Otzma Yehudit still fails to cross the electoral threshold, it agree not to run again if Israel heads to a fourth election.

Later on Wednesday, Ben-Gvir claimed in an interview with Kan that a deal had been reached with the Likud.

But the Likud quickly denied Ben-Gvir’s claims, and said Otzma Yehudit’s candidacy endangers the right-wing bloc.

“Falsehood and lies,” the Likud said in a statement. “There is no deal with Ben-Gvir, and a vote for Otzma Yehudit and Ben-Gvir puts a right-wing victory in peril.”

Otzma Yehudit, which ran as part of the Union of Right Wing Parties list in April 2019, ran independently in the September election, and received 83,609, or about 1.88% of the total vote, far short of the 3.25%, or about 144,500 votes, needed to enter the Knesset.

Recent polls show the party receiving between 1.0% to 2.8% of the vote – still well below the electoral threshold.