Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked may be planning a coup against United Right chief Rafi Peretz, with the hopes of replacing him as leader of the alliance of right-wing parties, Channel 12 reported Sunday evening.

According to the report, Shaked is working in tandem with Otzma Yehudit – which split off from the United Right – to form a joint front in negotiations with the Jewish Home and National Union factions within the United Right.

Shaked has reportedly met with Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir repeatedly, including a lengthy meeting last week at Shaked’s Tel Aviv residence in which the two discussed the possibility of using their joint clout to force United Right chief and Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz from the number one position, allowing Shaked to lead an expanded right-wing alliance.

Despite numerous polls of right-wing voters and the Religious Zionist community showing Shaked the favored candidate to lead the United Right, Peretz has refused to step aside as chief of the united list, insisting Shaked take the second spot if she joins the United Right for the September 17th election.

But without Otzma Yehudit, which ran with the United Right in the April elections, the United Right is in danger of failing to cross the electoral threshold. While the United Right has been quietly trying to bring Otzma back into the fold, no progress has been made towards a rapprochement.

Working together, however, Otzma Yehudit and Shaked may be able to achieve both of their goals – securing Shaked at the top of the list and getting Otzma more favorable conditions for a joint run.

Ayelet Shaked declined to comment on the report, while Ben-Gvir acknowledged he had met with Shaked repeatedly, but refused to comment on the content of their discussions.

“I have a great connection with Ayelet Shaked. We’ve had good meetings, but I don’t intend to reveal their content. Otzma Yehudit will be working over the coming days to create alliances within the right-wing bloc to try and save the Land of Israel.”