Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) has accused United Torah Judaism (UTJ) chief MK Moshe Gafni for hurting the right-religious bloc.
The accusation follows a threat by Gafni to separate his Degel Hatorah faction of UTJ from the hasidic Agudat Yisrael faction. The two parties have run together as a single list for many years, and have complex agreements between them.
According to a Wednesday report by Kan Reshet Bet, sources have said that Netanyahu is very concerned about the matter, and concerned that the two parties will run separately in the upcoming elections.
Netanyahu raised the matter in his recent meeting with Gafni, and previously in his meeting with Agudat Yisrael's new chairman, Yitzhak Goldknopf, who spoke about the complete disconnect between himself and Gafni.
During his meeting with Gafni, Netanyahu said, "You are hurting my bloc," implying that the split may cause one or both of the parties to fail to pass the electoral threshold, critically harming the chance that the right-religious bloc, of which UTJ is a part, will have enough Knesset seats to form a government.
Gafni, for his part, told Netanyahu that the ones who will decide whether the party runs together or separately are the Torah sages leading the party, and not Gafni himself. Netanyahu also offered to serve as a broker between the two factions, but his offer was politely rejected.