After failing to make it into the 21st Knesset, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right) is planning to run again for the Knesset – but this time, he is not planning to go it alone.
Last December, Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked made headlines with their abrupt departure from the Jewish Home. Along with MK Shuli Muallem, the three split off from the Jewish Home and founded the New Right party, a faction which initially polled in the double digits.
While the initial enthusiasm for the new party dissipated by election day, polls released the week before the election still showed the New Right entering the 21st Knesset with five or six seats.
Yet the New Right ended up with just over 138,000 votes – some 1,400 short of the 3.25% electoral threshold, leaving Bennett, Shaked, and Muallem out of the 21st Knesset.
Now, however, with new elections scheduled for September 17th, Bennett is planning another Knesset run, even as long-time political ally Ayelet Shaked appears poised to join the Likud.
On Thursday, it was reported that Bennett and Zehut party chairman Moshe Feiglin were in the midst of planning a joint run as a technical bloc – a temporary alliance allowing both parties to make it into the next Knesset, with the intention of splitting off after election day.
Now, however, it appears Bennett may have plans for a far broader alliance.
According to a report Friday by Yediot Ahronot, Bennett is aiming to bring together as many small right-wing parties as possible into a temporary alliance called the “United Right-Wing Front”.
Along with Zehut’s Moshe Feiglin, Bennett is slated to meet next week with the Jewish Home’s Rabbi Rafael Peretz, and National Union chairman Betzalel Smotrich.
Bennett is also reportedly sending overtures to the Otzma Yehudit party, which was led in the previous election by attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, following the Supreme Court decision to bar former MK Michael Ben-Ari. Bennett had in the past opposed a joint run with Otzma Yehudit.
On Thursday, United Right officials held talks over the future of the joint ticket’s Knesset slate, mulling whether the alliance of the Jewish Home and National Union factions should keep its Knesset list from last month’s election, or hold new primaries and draw up a new slate.