In a last-minute merger late Wednesday night, Israel’s Jewish Home Party broke its unity deal with the far-right Otzma Yehudit to join forces with National Union and New Right. The three parties will run together as the United Right in Israel’s March 2 election.
Jewish Home leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz on Thursday offered an apology to Otzma leader Itamar Ben-Gvir for breaking the pact between their parties.
“This is how politics is played, but I need to be true, first and foremost to myself, and request the forgiveness of my friend Itamar Ben-Gvir, as I was forced with a heavy heart to cancel my pact with him,” said Peretz, according to Ynet.
Peretz was reportedly under great pressure from the Likud Party to jettison Otzma and join New Right and National Union, out of concern that if some of the right-wing parties fail to cross the 3.25 percent vote threshold in March, it could result Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again failing to form a coalition.
The United Right merger was partially attributed to a last-minute sit-down hosted by Netanyahu in his Jerusalem office earlier Wednesday evening.
The United Right alliance resembles the Yamina alliance of the previous election, only with New Right leader Defense Minister Naftali Bennett at the head rather than former justice minister Ayelet Shaked.
Otzma Yehudit, which did not garner enough seats to enter the Knesset in September, will again run alone in March.
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