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Israeli right unites and Arab parties recreate joint list

A number of small Israeli right wing parties have agreed to merge into a single party list led by former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

The four Arab parties, who ran on two separate lists in April have also agreed to merge and recreate the Joint List that won 13 seats in the 2015 election.

Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Rafi Peretz announced on Sunday that their parties will run together on a joint list led by Shaked. Peretz tweeted news of the union between the New Right and the United Right, saying: “Unity is a common goal of all of us, tonight we will meet to discuss details of the joint run.”

Peretz will take second spot on the list, followed by National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich and former Education Minister Naftali Bennett. The Kahanist party Jewish Power is not yet part of the union.

Israel’s Kan Radio reported that Peretz is demanding a clause that stipulates that the unified list will only support Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister after the election. The New Right is reportedly only willing to accept a clause that says they will support a right-wing candidate who will not form a unity government with the Left.

The Balad party has announced that it would join with the other Arab parties to reconstitute the Joint List.  On Saturday, Hadash, Taal and Raam announced they were merging for the September elections. Hadash leader Ayman Odeh said: “These elections are a second chance for us to unite in the face of hatred… in the face of racism, in the face of incitement. We are coming back united and strong.”

Despite the Arab parties winning 13 seats in the 2015 elections as a unified party, in April 2019 they ran on two separate lists, winning only 10 seats.

Labour Party number 2, Itzik Shmuli, has confirmed that he will stay in the party despite speculation that he would leave and join the Democratic Union alongside former Labour MK Stav Shaffir. He said at a press conference with Labour Party leader Amir Peretz: “The Labour Party is my home and even when there are disagreements and arguments, I remain committed and won’t abandon it during difficult moments.”