New Hope MKs
New Hope MKsHezki Baruch

Three opposition lawmakers from the New Hope party are considering joining a Likud-led government, a Likud MK claimed Tuesday morning, despite their party’s commitment not to sit in a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MK Shlomo Karhi (Likud) told Yediot Aharanot Tuesday morning that three New Hope MKs had announced to party chairman Gideon Sa’ar that they will not consider themselves obligated to the party line vis-à-vis refusing to back Netanyahu, should Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s mandate to form a government expire, sending the mandate to the Knesset.

Karhi said that if the mandate does go to the Knesset, Netanyahu’s ability to form a government will hinge solely on Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, claiming that at least two of the three New Hope MKs in question would join the new Likud-led coalition.

“Bennett is still trying to form a divisive government which deems half of the people in Israel unacceptable. But if that really is off the table, then when we get to the last 21 days, there’ll be a right-wing government. [At least] two [MKs] from New Hope will come. They won’t be deserters [from the party], they just have promised to sit in a right-wing government.”

When asked which New Hope lawmakers could join a Likud-backed government, Karhi claimed that former minister Ze’ev Elkin, Yoaz Hendel, and Sharren Haskel have all indicated to Sa’ar that they could back a Likud-led government if the mandate goes to the Knesset.

“They’re all loyal to Sa’ar – until the end of Lapid’s mandate. Once the mandate ends, even Elkin and Hendel will jump from party to party.”

The New Hope MKs denied Karhi’s claims.

“That’s how you create spin,” tweeted Haskel. “We are all committed and united around Gideon Sa’ar. Karhi is lying, and that is the only way to get ahead in politics after he screwed up and hurt the Likud in the last election.”