Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet ShakedArutz Sheva

Political analyst Amit Segal, in his column in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, revealed the discussions between the Likud party and Jewish Home chair and current Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked in the days prior to the elections.

"The understanding slowly dawned on Netanyahu that Shaked is what's called 'nice to have' for the right-wing voters who don't want Netanyahu, can't stand [Religious Zionism chief MK Bezalel] Smotrich, but have a hard time supporting [National Unity chief Defense Minister Benny] Gantz," Segal wrote.

"Suddenly a thought occurred to him: If Shaked drops out, these [voters] will stay home and the electoral threshold will go down."

Meanwhile, he added, Shaked wanted to run to the end, because she promised her voters that she would do so, but she had to be sure that the bloc's interests would not be harmed.

Segal noted that the mayor of Bat Yam, Tzvika Brot, was charged with brokering negotiations between the two. Brot is considered to be close to Netanyahu, and organized activities relating to Religious Zionism. He told Shaked that the Likud has no problem with her running to the end.

Shaked then requested guarantees that she would not be attacked by the Likud the day after the elections, and two such guarantees were given to her: The first was a long phone call held on Sunday, two days before the elections, between herself and Likud's MK Yariv Levin, in which he promised her personally that the Likud would reveal these secret negotiations following the elections.

The second, Segal wrote, was a letter given to Brot, addressed to him from Levin, so as to avoid the need to report it to the Knesset as a political agreement, and confirming that Shaked's continued run was done with the Likud's agreement and at its request.

The final results of the elections showed that Shaked's run helped raise the electoral threshold by 1,400 votes - a number well-known to her from the first round of elections.