Former occupation PM Netanyahu calls for far-right party union
Former Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is diving head-first into the ultra-nationalism and Zionist extremism as he tries to garner more allies to secure more seats in the Knesset.
Former Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Tuesday for unity among the ranks of far-right Israeli parties, namely extremist Zionist Itamar Ben Gvir's Otzma Yehudit party and Betzalel Smotrich's Religious Zionism party, Israeli media reported Tuesday.
Smotrich welcomed the call for uniting of far-right Zionist parties. However, Ben Gvir was not too fond of the statement, as he accused his former political partner, Smotrich, of slowing him down due to his delayed actions.
Ben Gvir is one of the most notorious Israeli politicians, as he is infamous for constantly carrying out provocative tours in Al-Aqsa mosque and rallying illegal Israeli settlers that call for the death of Arabs and Palestinians alike while chanting racist slogans and slurs against Muslims and Arabs.
Both the extremist Zionists ran together in the 2021 election, but it seems that their political partnership is over, as their negotiations to submit a joint electoral list in the upcoming November election fell apart last week. Ben Gvir has accused Smotrich of "negotiating in bad faith" and not compromising or making any concessions.
Netanyahu posted a video on social media pleading with the two extremists to mend their ties and resurrect their alliance, which he previously did ahead of the 2019 and 2021 elections.
"For all of us, there is one mission: to establish a strong and stable national government for the coming four years. But before we can do that, we need one thing: to unite the forces and not to spread them out," Netanyahu said as he desperately claws for power after he was ousted in May of last year.
"Therefore, I call on the Religious Zionist party and Otzma Yehudit to run together in the elections. We can’t take the risk. Only running together will ensure that these parties will pass the electoral threshold with certainty," the former Israeli leader added.
Netanyahu is only concerned with the two extremists due to his fears that their disunity would take away votes that would otherwise be in his favor. If one of them falls under the 3.25% electoral threshold, precious votes would be taken out of Netanyahu's path.
"Only running together will guarantee a government without the Joint List," Netanyahu said in reference to the coalition comprised in its majority of Arab parties.
Smotrich responded to Netanyahu's calls for the rallying of far-right Zionism, saying he agreed with what the Likud leader was saying and asking Ben Gvir to "sit down tomorrow with the real goal of advancing a joint run for the sake of a right-wing victory in the election."
Ben Gvir, on the other hand, seemed to be less excited than his Religious Zionism counterpart, saying he has been in pursuit of unity with the latter for a month to no avail.
Netanyahu's attempts to import far-right extremism into Knesset have been met with criticism ever since he started his alliance with the aforementioned parties in pursuit of more seats and, subsequently, votes.
Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism ran jointly in the 2021 election due to Netanyahu brokering a deal between the two.
His list, comprised of several parties, including far-right extremist ones such as Noam, received six seats in Knesset, but recent polls have shown that the alliance could potentially receive 9-11 seats in the November 1 election.
With his MKs believing that he is driven by a personal vendetta, Netanyahu reportedly fears that Yamina will be able to secure a sizeable number of chairs in the Knesset via a coalition.
In order to lead the Israeli government, a party has to win a majority of 61 seats in the Knesset. If this was not achieved, the party with the most seats has to negotiate alliances with other parties to form a coalition.
Netanyahu has pledged that his alliance of right-wingers, ultra-nationalists, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties will win the upcoming vote, but polls show that he may also struggle to rally a parliamentary majority.
The Likud leader's efforts to import ultra-nationalists and far-right-wingers into Knesset have been met with criticism, even from Netanyahu's closest allies. Even the pro-Israeli occupation lobby in the US, AIPAC, which practically never criticizes Israeli politicians, has criticized Netanyahu over his actions.