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December 23, 2019 10:40 am

Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit Parties Unite Ahead of March 2 Election

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Jewish Home Party chairman Rafi Peretz arrives to attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 24, 2019. Photo: Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo. – Israel’s Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit parties announced on Friday that they would run together on a joint ticket in the March 2 elections, but the move has met with some opposition from within Jewish Home.

Jewish Home head Rafi Peretz met with Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir on Friday and came to an agreement that Jewish Home will retain the top spot and Otzma would get the third, sixth and ninth positions on the joint list, reported Arutz Sheva.

The deal does not include the National Union, headed by Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

“We have responsibilities to the right-wing camp. We cannot let right-wing votes go to waste. These elections will decide the fate of the right-wing government and Religious Zionism. The call of the hour is unity,” said Peretz, according to the report.

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Meanwhile, Jewish Home Knesset member Motti Yogev said on Saturday night that the deal was reached without his knowledge since he had been tasked with concluding an agreement with National Union.

“While I worked to sign an agreement with the National Union under the encouragement of Rabbi Rafi Peretz, an agreement was signed with the Otzma Yehudit Party without my knowledge and without my consent,” he said, according to Arutz Sheva.

“The party central committee should be convened urgently to discuss the agreement, how to select the list, a merger with the National Union and to allow the members of the Jewish Home to make the decision. We are a Zionist, religious and democratic party,” added Yogev.

Dozens of Jewish Home officials sent a letter of protest to Peretz, claiming that he had acted without consultations.

“Since we have been representatives of Jewish Home branches and councils for many years, and because of the fact that the Jewish Home is a veteran party with lawfully elected institutions and is not a one-man party, you are requested to promptly announce the cancellation of the agreement, to bring your proposals to the party’s Central Committee for a real discussion (the Central Committee is not a rubber stamp!) and hold democratic primaries,” the letter said, according to Arutz Sheva.

“If you don’t immediately approach the Jewish Home Central Committee with party primaries and a democratic process, we will approach the party’s Central Committee and announce democratic primaries which will bring back the public’s trust and the legitimacy which we have lost in the past year,” they wrote.

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