Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged an election alliance with a far-right party on Wednesday that could give followers of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane, a stronger voice in Israeli politics, says Reuters.
The deal, announced by Netanyahu’s Likud and the ultranationalist Jewish Home party, was aimed at solidifying a potential right-wing coalition after the April 9 parliamentary election.
Netanyahu has convinced Jewish Home to forge an election union with Jewish Power, in exchange for future cabinet posts.
Jewish Power is led by followers of Meir Kahane, whose racism was so crude he was banned from running in Israeli elections in 1988.https://t.co/O0sLw2mBid
— Ben White (@benabyad) February 20, 2019
Opinion polls predict Netanyahu’s Likud will win the most parliamentary seats and will be in a position to form a governing coalition of rightist and religious parties similar to the one he now heads.
But the surveys also show that a possible alliance between two of his strongest centrist opponents, former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who leads the Resilience Party, and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid faction, could spark an upset.
Gantz and Lapid met on Wednesday, with speculation high they could strike a deal.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 20, 2019
Moving to counter that prospective partnership, Netanyahu agreed to set aside two cabinet posts for Jewish Home on condition it agreed to a merger with the Jewish Power party, whose leaders have portrayed themselves as Kahane’s successors.
Jewish Home’s chairman said in a statement he accepted the deal after talks with Netanyahu and would ask the party’s central committee to ratify it later on Wednesday.
Such an alliance could be crucial to the two parties’ survival: opinion polls have shown that Jewish Home and Jewish Power might not garner enough votes on their own to win even a single seat in the Knesset.
You know how in the U.S. we talk of the resurgence of the KKK/neo-Nazis? Or how in Europe we face a tide of far-right nationalist movements? Well in Israel we have our own version, and they're most likely going to end up in the next Knesset with the full blessing of Netanyahu. pic.twitter.com/2euv5wstBu
— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) February 20, 2019
Kahane, a US-born rabbi, served one term in the Knesset in the 1980s as head of the Kach party, which advocated the “transfer” of Palestinians to neighboring Arab countries and also called for a ban on intermarriage between Israeli Jews and Arabs.
Kahane’s movement was subsequently banned from Israeli politics as racist. He was assassinated in 1990 in New York by an Egyptian-born American.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) February 21, 2019
Netanyahu’s political future has also been clouded by three corruption cases. The attorney-general is weighing whether to accept police recommendations to indict him over allegations he wrongfully accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensed favors to try to win favorable coverage in an Israeli newspaper and a website.
In office since 2009, after an earlier term as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing. He says he is a victim of a left-wing witchhunt to topple him.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)