A Kan political commentator discussed the implications of the merger between the Jewish Home party, led by Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, and the Otzma Yehudit party, led by Itamar Ben Gvir.
From 2013 until this week, the Jewish Home party had run in a joint list together with the National Union party, led by Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich. However, recent pressures to merge into a single party instead of a joint list made of two factions led to disagreements and ultimately to the Jewish Home's decision to merge with Otzma Yehudit while calling for the National Union to join them.
When the three parties ran together in April, they won just five Knesset seats.
"What we're seeing this time is that the National Religious Party (NRP) prefers Rabbi Meir Kahana's students, over the classical religious Zionists - the former party of Uri Ariel," wrote Yoav Krakovsky, Kan's senior political commentator.
"Peretz prefers Ben Gvir. This is a reality that's very difficult to accept for many of the moderate Religious Zionists."
"Religious Zionism is in deep trouble - in terms of its leadership, its values and its politics. On one hand, they can't allow themselves to run with so many divided lists, and on the other hand, the mergers don't work. The mergers of the Religious Zionist parties failed in the last two election campaigns."
"If we think that there are rivers of thick blood between [Israeli Prime Mininster Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Likud MK Gideon] Sa'ar, we may not have fully realized the gravity of Religious Zionism's internal crisis. There's a truly huge difference between Otzma Yehudit and Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett. There's not real differences between Smotrich-Bennett-Peretz but nevertheless it seems that egos are the biggest gap - a gap that can't be bridged."