JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s right-wing bloc, which was unable to form a government following elections in April, took a hit with the far-right Jewish Power party saying it will break its alliance with the pro-settlement Jewish Home party.
Jewish Power, or Otzma Yehudit, said that Jewish Home was not honouring the terms of the merger agreement that had the parties running on the same list. Among the agreement terms the party says were violated is Jewish Home not requiring a lawmaker to step aside after being appointed a government minister, since ministers do not have to be lawmakers, to allow the next member on its list to join the Knesset. Jewish Home party head Rafi Peretz earlier this month was appointed education minister. The next alliance member on the list is Jewish Power’s Itamar Ben Gvir.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had brokered the union of the two smaller parties ahead of the national elections in April in order to shore up the right-wing bloc, which was expected to allow him to form a government, but he came up short. Netanyahu was criticized for trying to help the party, an offshoot of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s banned Kach Party, to enter the government.
The parties won five seats in the short-lived 21st Knesset. New national elections are scheduled for Sept. 17.
Jewish Power said in a letter to Peretz announcing the split that it is “trying to form other unions that will strengthen the right in the coming elections.”
The National Union Party, part of the Union of Right Wing Parties alliance with Jewish Home and Jewish Power, called on the parties to stop “unnecessary wars within the right-wing camp.”