Two Israeli ministers have announced their split from the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party and have set up a new right-wing faction that they say will be a partnership between secular and religious politicians.
Naftali Bennett, the minister of education, and Ayelet Shaked, the justice minister, announced their new party, Hayemin Hehadash or New Right, in a news conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday and vowed to take votes away from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the New Right will alternate between religious and secular candidates on its list.
“We did not succeed in Bayit Yehudi in raising the banner of real partnership between religious and secular,” Shaked said, using the Hebrew name for Jewish Home.
“We’ll regain Knesset seats that have slipped from the Likud to the left – to parties that claim to be right-wing but are in fact left,” she said. “The party will strengthen the right.”
The ministers said that while Jewish Home had become a “significant force” in government over the past six years, their power had waned.
“We greatly appreciate Netanyahu and his contributions over the years to Israel but the real right, the whole nationalist camp, cannot be captives of one person,” Bennett said. “With Hayemin Hehadash, Israel is winning again.”
The party will firmly oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, he continued.
“I want to be very very clear,” he said. “The New Right party is right-wing, no buts and no sort-ofs. In favour of the Land of Israel without compromise, against a Palestinian state, period.”
He also added that the New Right party would not have allowed the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip 13 years ago.
Last week, Netanyahu announced new elections would be held on April 9 next year.
In a statement, his Likud party warned that by splintering the right, Bennett and Shaked had not learned the lessons of the lost 1992 election that led to the Oslo peace process “disaster”.
“The only solution for the right to remain in power is to vote for the Likud party led by Netanyahu,” the statement said.