The crisis between Knesset members Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir threatens the right-wing bloc, which fears that the two will run separately and that one or both of them will not pass the threshold, thus remaining outside the Knesset.
Smotrich heads up the Religious Zionism Party and Ben Gvir heads up Otzma Yehudit. Both are required for a stronger right-wing coalition.
MKs Smotrich and Ben Gvir have been holding negotiations for several weeks and the media has been reporting on the details of their discussions and the friction between them. The point of contention at the moment appears to be over the seventh place on the list. Smotrich is insistent that this place be reserved for former deputy chief of the Police Investigations Unit Moshe Sa'ada. Ben Gvir, on the other hand, wants the spot reserved for Almog Cohen, a leader of the Negev Rescue Committee protecting Negev residents against rising crime rates in the Negev.
To prevent negotiations from failing over this point, opposition leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) came up with his own proposal: As reported on the army radio station, Galei Tzahal, Knesset Member Idit Silman will be placed in seventh place.
Silman resigned from the Yamina Party due to deep ideological differences with the government’s left-wing partners, including the Meretz and Labor factions. She was expected to receive a reserved spot on the Likud list before Netanyahu came up with this new idea.
Meanwhile, MK Simcha Rothman from the Religious Zionism faction was interviewed Monday morning by Golan Yochpaz and Anat Davidov on Radio 103FM. He addressed the conflict with MK Ben Gvir and the difficulty of reaching an agreement for a joint run of the two parties.
"Unfortunately, right now it doesn't seem like there is a desire on the other side, so it doesn't really depend only on what we want," said Rothman. He added that, "Ben Gvir was an integral part of our faction. We acted as a united faction. The public saw that and liked it and is asking for this unity. Therefore we must do everything to ensure that we run together."