Members of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s caretaker government are putting together an offer for the right-wing Otzma Yehudit party, which would guarantee a ministry portfolio for Otzma if the party agrees to drop out of the Knesset race, Channel 12 reported Sunday night.
According to the report, sources within the coalition say one of the two haredi factions – either Shas or United Torah Judaism – will offer Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir one of its ministerial portfolios in the next election if Otzma Yehudit drops out of the race and calls on its supporters to vote for the haredi faction.
The plan reportedly has been green-lighted by Miki Zohar, a Netanyahu loyalist who serves as the chairman of the Likud party’s Knesset delegation.
The Prime Minister’s Office denied that Netanyahu was involved in the plan, however.
“The bid to have Ben-Gvir appointed as a minister is not being done with the prime minister’s knowledge and will not be put into effect.”
Otzma Yehudit refused to comment on the report, saying only that the party would decide in the coming days whether the party would remain in the race.
“We won’t discuss via the media offers that we receive, but it is important to understand that Otzma is an ideological movement, not a seat-oriented one.”
Last week, Jewish Home chief and Education Minister Rafi Peretz cancelled his party’s agreement with Otzma for a joint run, instead joining the Yamina list with the New Right and National Union.
Otzma, which ran by itself in the September election, received just under 84,000 votes, well below the roughly 140,000 needed to clear the 3.25% electoral threshold and enter the Knesset, but enough to waste the votes that could have meant three more Knesset seats for the Right wing bloc.