The Religious Zionist Party, led by MK Bezalel Smotrich, and the Jewish Home, led by Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Hagit Moshe, renewed negotiations towards the formation of a united Knesset list, a spokesperson said Friday afternoon.
According to a statement released, the meeting between the two sides was 'congenial', and substantial progress was made.
Earlier on Friday, Yediot Aharanot reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is pressuring the Religious Zionist Party to prove to the Likud that it can cross the electoral threshold in the upcoming Knesset election – or else merge with other right-wing parties.
With the Central Election Committee’s deadline for submitting Knesset lists set for next Thursday, the Likud has warned Smotrich that his party must pass the threshold in a publicly published poll next week, as well as in an internal Likud poll next week. Should the Religious Zionist Party fail to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold in one of the polls, officials close to the Prime Minister say, the party must agree to run with both the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit parties.
If Smotrich refuses, Netanyahu’s confidants have warned that the Likud will work to minimize the vote for the Religious Zionist Party, aggressively campaigning among the party’s demographic base.
Should Smotrich agree to a joint run, however, or succeed in passing the threshold in next week’s polls, the Likud has reportedly vowed not to target the Religious Zionist Party’s electoral base.