Right-wing party leaders meet with PM, MK Smotrich absent despite invitation to attend

Joint statement issued calls on Yamina to keep its promise to voters not to join government with left-wing bloc.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Right-wing party leaders meet with Netanyahu in his office
Right-wing party leaders meet with Netanyahu in his office

On Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with several heads of right-wing parties, to discuss their next steps now that MK Yair Lapid has been handed the mandate to attempt to form a coalition.

Invited to the meeting were the heads of the UTJ party, MKs Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Litzman, the head of the Shas party, Aryeh Deri, and the head of Religious Zionism, MK Bezalel Smotrich. Notably, MK Naftali Bennett of the Yamina party was not invited, in the wake of his decision to cooperate with Lapid despite promising just weeks ago that he would not do so.

Also present at the meeting was Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, but Smotrich did not ultimately attend. Following the meeting, it was announced that his absence was due to ill health.

A statement issued by those present noted briefly that those gathered remained united in their opposition to a left-wing government, and would continue to act in concert.

They added that, “The right-wing bloc calls on Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, and other members of the Yamina party, to keep their promises to their voters and not join a left-wing government with [Yesh Atid party head Yair] Lapid, Meretz, or the Labor party.”