Otzma Yehudit's Baruch Marzel (l), Michael Ben-Ari (c), Itamar Ben-Gvir (r)
Otzma Yehudit's Baruch Marzel (l), Michael Ben-Ari (c), Itamar Ben-Gvir (r) Yonatan Sindel/Flahs90

The Otzma Yehudit faction notified Jewish Home chief, Education Minister Rafi Peretz, that it is discontinuing its cooperation with the Jewish Home and National Union factions, and will be leaving the United Right party.

Otzma leaders cited the behavior of Jewish Home members, including Minister Peretz, as the reason for their departure from the United Right.

“Unfortunately, over these past few months we failed to receive proper treatment. You and other officials in the Jewish Home behaved as if you were using then throwing away Otzma Yehudit. As you well know, and as you announced yourself in a broadcast, the union between us led to the victory in the election, which had it not been for Liberman’s behavior, would have led to the formation of a government.”

“Despite all this, and despite the fact that more than 70,000 Otzma Yehudit voters voted for the Union of Right-Wing Parties, during these past months, unfortunately, the behavior of Jewish Home officials was outrageous.”

In the letter, Otzma’s leaders cited the failure of the United Right to implement the seat rotation agreement, which would have brought attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir into the Knesset.

“First, there were officials who announced that they wouldn’t use the Norwegian Law, and that they would violate the agreement (just so you could learn to be a Knesset Member).”

Ahead of the April 9th election, and at the urging of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit ran on the joint United Right ticket, to ensure that all three factions passed the 3.25% electoral threshold – equal to roughly 140,000 votes.

The alliance received 159,000 votes, netting five seats.

While Otzma Yehudit had been given the fifth and eighth seats on the joint list, the Supreme Court overruled the Election Committee’s decision to permit Otzma candidate and former MK Michael Ben Ari from running. That deprived Otzma of its candidate in the fifth spot, pushing its second candidate, Itamar Ben-Gvir, up from eighth to seventh.

The Jewish Home and National Union factions vowed to ensure Ben-Gvir’s entry into the Knesset after their received ministries, using the “Norwegian Law”. Prime Minister Netanyahu had agreed to pass a modified version of the law, enabling two MKs from the same party to leave the Knesset while serving as ministers, returning to the Knesset if they lost their positions.

But with the failure to form a new government, the modification to the Norwegian Law was dropped from the agenda, and United Right chief Rafi Peretz refused to resign from the Knesset, claiming that as an appointee in a caretaker government, he must be a member of the Knesset to serve in the cabinet.