Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, one of the leaders of the Yamina party, responded on Wednesday to the possibility that Zehut leader Moshe Feiglin will reach an agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and will not run for the Knesset in the upcoming elections.
"Yair Lapid and his friends on the left very much want parties on the right that do not pass the electoral threshold to run till the end so that the right loses votes and the government. That's why Feiglin is doing the right thing by taking responsibility and withdrawing his candidacy," said Minister Smotrich.
He called on the Otzma Yehudit party to act in a similar manner, saying, "Now it is Otzma’s turn to show responsibility. Show responsibility to the continuation of the rule of the right and do not vote for those who do not pass the threshold."
Earlier, Zehut chairman Moshe Feiglin posted a video message to supporters of the party following reports of advanced negotiations with the Likud and the possibility of Zehut withdrawing from the election.
"I stated at the activists' conference in Tel Aviv that if we can solve the issue that is causing the deaths of patients who need this drug in Israel, we will be ready to enter into negotiations with the prime minister. That night I received an invitation and we sat there for hours into the early morning," said Feiglin, in a reference to one of the main pillars of Zehut’s platform, the legalization of medical marijuana.
He added, "I am pleased to announce that there has been very significant progress on this issue and other important issues from the platform of Zehut. There is no agreement yet. In any case, we will bring an orderly functioning referendum, which no other party would have imagined."
"Zehut will continue to influence and this time it may be from the government and not just from the Knesset," Feiglin said.
On Monday it was reported that the Likud was pressuring the Zehut party to drop out of the race, so as to avoid wasting right-wing votes on a party which, according to the most recent polls, will not cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.
According to the reports, the Likud offered to cover Zehut’s three-million-shekel debt, adopt part of Zehut’s platform – including decriminalization of marijuana – and appointing Feiglin as a minister in the next government in exchange for the party’s dropping out.