Rabbis: United religious Zionist party - without Bennett

Religious Zionist rabbis call on the National Union, Jewish Home, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam to run on a joint list - minus Bennett.

Hezki Baruch ,

Rabbi Chai Hakohen with UTJ heads
Rabbi Chai Hakohen with UTJ heads

Religious Zionist rabbis who are members of the "Religious Zionist Trustees" forum called on the four religious Zionist Knesset parties - the National Union, Jewish Home, Otzma and Noam - to unite under one list, leaving Naftali Bennett's New Right out of the coalition.

One of the central backers of the move is Rabbi David Chai HaCohen, head of the Netivot Israel yeshiva in Bat Yam, who told supporters to vote for the United Torah Judaism Party in the previous elections.

Rabbi Yaakov Sternberg, also onboard with the move, told Arutz Sheva: "Up till now, the New Right hs not considered itself a religious party. With MK Matan Kahane saying he wouldn't rule out a coalition partnership with Meretz and Yesh Atid, you can also say it's not on the right.

"I hope all the religious Zionist parties unite ahead of the elections," he said.

Yamina responded to the rabbis' call to split with the religious Zionist parties in its faction: "The State of Israel is mired in a state of emergency. One million unemployed. We're racing towards a third coronavirus wave. Partisanship and internal feuding are a reminder of what befell our People during the fall of the Second Temple. Yamina, led by Naftali Bennett, will unite the people of Israel, fight Corona, and restore the livelihoods of Israel's citizens. All the Zionist [parties] are invited to take part in this rescue effort."

Earlier this week, a spokesman for Otzma Yehudit hinted it would not be interested in a joint run with the Jewish Home. Yitzhak Weserloff, director-general of the party headed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, said that "Otzma [would] run with individuals who know how to keep their word without having to fear that they will take up a better offer or renege on their agreement at the last second."

"That's what we need for starters," he quipped.

Meanwhile, a poll published by the Mano Geva Research & Consulting Agency and Channel 12 News published tonight has that the right-wing bloc at 67 seats.

According to the poll, the Likud would remain Israel's ruling party with 30 seats if elections were held today. Meanwhile, Yamina would come in with 21 and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid with 17 seats.

The Joint Arab List would be down to 12 seats, while Benny Gantz's Blue and White party would receive 10. Haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) would end up with eight seats apiece. Liberman's Yisrael Beiteynu and Meretz would both get seven.

The poll also indicates the four parties likely to fall short of the voting threshold are: the Jewish Home, Labor, Derech Eretz and Gesher.

Divided into blocs, the right-wing camp has 67 seats, while the left-wing bloc and Liberman stand at 53.