Itamar Ben-Gvir
Itamar Ben-Gvirspokesperson

Otzma Yehudit chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir announced Monday evening that his party would run alone in the upcoming elections for the 25th Knesset instead of running together with the Religious Zionism party following a breakdown in negotiations.

Religious Zionism party chairman Bezalel Smotrich's offer included places 2, 5, 9 and 10 on the Religious Zionism party's list for Otzma Yehudit, but Ben-Gvir demanded that he receive three spots in the top seven.

The two party leaders also disagreed on who should have the seventh spot on the list.

Ben-Gvir said that Smotrich did not "conduct the negotiations seriously" and that polls showed the Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties would receive more votes collectively if they ran separately.

There is still a month before the party lists have to be finalized, giving the parties time to reach an agreement on a joint run.

Earlier, Smotrich reacted to reports that Ben-Gvir would hold a press conference announcing his intention to run alone.

"In the midst of a family vacation in the north, I am saddened to hear from the media about the intention of my friend Itamar to announce this evening a split from Religious Zionism and split off for an independent run," MK Smotrich said.

"My friend Itamar, this is a serious mistake. The national camp cannot afford splits and divisions and the risk of throwing votes in the trash, as unfortunately has happened more than once. You know, Itamar, we ran together in the last elections and brought tremendous success. We joined forces together, in a single and united faction in Religious Zionism. In the last year, we waged an extraordinary struggle to overthrow this evil and dangerous government that relied on the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood's terror."

"We have one more month until the closing of the lists, come back to the negotiation room, we will talk about everything, we will discuss everything, we will reach agreements on how best to run together in order to maximize the strength and bring about the victory of the national camp", said Smotrich.