Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet ShakedFlash 90

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is pressuring Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to agree to the formation of a right-wing government in the current Knesset.

This would mean Bennett giving up the role of Prime Minister. Shaked is not only pressuring the Prime Minister on this, but also senior members of the New Hope party. The main obstacle is whether everyone involved would consent to sit under Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett himself is very reluctant about the move, but does not completely rule it out.

Israel Hayom’s senior political correspondent Mati Tuchfeld reports that if the government disintegrates soon, Bennett's first preference will be to go to elections, but not at any cost. If he loses the role of Prime Minister in a transitional government or is unsure about the possibility of running together with New Hope in a unified slate that will pass the electoral threshold, it appears that the option of forming a right-wing government led by Netanyahu, in which Bennett would serve as Defense Minister, will again be a viable option for him. As far as Shaked is concerned, this option is preferable to elections, so she is working to promote the matter now.

Senior members of Yamina and New Hope have been talking in recent days about the two parties running together in the next elections. Tuchfeld says that many obstacles still stand in the way before the move can be implemented. The main one is the mistrust between Bennett and New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar. Bennett is not sure that Sa’ar will help him become Prime Minister during the transition period, and Sa’ar may even prefer that Yair Lapid be the one to head the transition period, which will open the options for the chairmanship of the united Yamina-New Hope slate.

According to Tuchfeld, there are also disagreements in the opposition about the preferred scenario should the government collapse. While opposition leader Netanyahu and senior Likud figures prefer elections, the haredi parties prefer an alternative government in the current Knesset.

"The Likud is encouraged by the steady rise of the right-wing bloc in the polls, which is what is encouraging them to prefer elections over a right-wing government led by Netanyahu right now. At the same time, it is estimated that if a right-wing government can be formed without heavy prices being paid, Netanyahu may agree," wrote Tuchfeld.