Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Rabbi Rafi Peretz Yoni Kempinski

The chairman of the Jewish Home party, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, revealed on Wednesday evening at a toast in Petah Tikva that he had spoken with ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked in the wake of the official results of the elections, which saw Bennett and Shaked’s New Right party fail to pass the electoral threshold and enter the Knesset.

"They asked me time and again, ‘Tell me, are you rejoicing inside about what happened? That you won and they lost?' Today I called both Ayelet Shaked and Naftali and expressed the sorrow and pain of all of us over what happened and us losing so many votes. I told them that I know, hear and see many good things that they did and that we are not disregarding what they did. Religious Zionism received many good things from the two of them,” said Rabbi Peretz.

"I did not plan and did not want to enter this arena. Now that it’s happened, I am happy and want it and everything is fine. If someone had told me at the beginning that this was what would be waiting for me these two months, they would not even have found me under the tiles in my house. Today I say that I’m happy. I met a wonderful group, I met honest and precious people, people of truth who carry the burden together,” he added.

On Tuesday, Bennett conceded that he had lost his Knesset seat and that the New Right party had failed to clear the electoral threshold.

"After six years of service as a government minister, 100 campaign days and another week of struggle for every vote, I can say: I did the best I could for the people of Israel, my beloved nation," Bennett said.

"This time it was not enough. I have no complaints to anyone. I and I alone am responsible for the result,” he added.

On Wednesday, Shaked said that she would be leaving politics, but hinted at a possible return in the future.

“It appears that the judgment of voters, and also the minimum threshold, managed to cause me, after six years of intensive work, to be ‘free’ – at least for a period of time, which I won’t commit to how long it will be,” she said.

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