Benny Katzover
Benny Katzover Flash 90

The Likud may be the Knesset’s largest party and will form the next government, but the right has nevertheless been significantly weakened, the head of the Samaria (Shomron) Residents’ Committee, Benny Katzover, said on Wednesday.

“The power of the nationalist camp is down, we’ve got a tie, and it seems as though democracy has gone bankrupt,” Katzover told Arutz Sheva as results from the election indicated that the right-wing and left-wing blocs are now evenly matched with 60 seats each, if one counts the Arab parties as part of the left-wing bloc.

The results will keep Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in power but he will have to heavily rely on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, which will be the second largest party, and perhaps even on other parties from the left in order to form a coalition.

“Unfortunately there is instability,” Katzover added. “While it will be possible to form a government, it will be far from stable.”

Katzover predicted that the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria may be negatively affected in the coming years, noting that “Yesh Atid is manned by quite a few factors to whom issues pertaining to the Land of Israel are foreign. They care about social and diplomatic issues. The media and all of Lapid’s friends will take Netanyahu towards the left, and he may even be happy to cooperate with that.”

The key question, according to Katzover, is who will be the ministers of Defense and Housing. “If either of those is Yair Lapid, there will be no significant construction in the Shomron and he will make concessions. Yair Lapid and his gang will push for negotiations [with the Palestinian Authority].”

He noted that the right lost many votes in the form of parties that failed to pass the electoral threshold. “Otzma LeYisrael, Rabbi Amsalem and Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak, they threw away a lot of votes. There were also many forgeries in the Arab villages in the north, and we are examining the data from those areas. If necessary we will take legal steps in order to deal with it.”

Lapid just last week launched an attack on “settlers” in Judea and Samaria who, he said, live at the expense of the middle class.

Katzover later responded to that attack, saying that Lapid is mistaken in putting Judea and Samaria residents in a separate category from the rest of the middle class.

“The residents of Revava, Peduel or Itamar deserve investment in their infrastructure just as residents of Holon, Carmiel or Kibbutz Grofit do,” said Katzover, naming Samaria towns and towns elsewhere in Israel.

“Do you disagree?” he asked Lapid.

“We do our part,” he continued. “We pay taxes, work for a living, enlist in combat units in high numbers… Most of us are part of the middle class you purport to represent.”

In a separate interview with Arutz Sheva on Wednesday, MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said that the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria will continue to be supported by the Likud in the next government, but admitted he was concerned that Likud’s coalition partners may not be as supportive.

MK Yariv Levin (Likud) also predicted that Netanyahu will have a difficult time governing Israel.

"The Prime Minister has received a mandate to form a government," he told Arutz Sheva, "but on the other hand, there is no doubt that the attempt to create a union with Yisrael Beytenu, so that we have a broad governing party, did not receive enough support. It turns out that most of Israel's citizens prefer sectoral insularity over ability to govern."