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Ben Gvir declares solo run, blames Religious Zionism for breakdown of talks

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan ahead of the upcoming Knesset elections, August 15, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan ahead of the upcoming Knesset elections, August 15, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir announces his ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit party will be running separately on its own list, instead of with the Religious Zionism party, due to what he says is that faction’s failure to negotiate in good faith.

“I have tried in every way to achieve unity between us, but since [Religious Zionism leader] Bezalel [Smotrich] has refused every concession of mine, I declare tonight with a full heart that Otzma Yehudit will run by itself in the elections.

Ben Gvir asserts that he made a series of concessions to Smotrich, including not having parity for his party on a joint list of candidates with Religious Zionism, and giving up on leading the party as well.

He says that Smotrich had not really intended to have an honest negotiation, which led to his decision to run alone.

Smotrich earlier urged Ben Gvir not to run separately, saying that dividing the right-wing, religious camp would harm the pro-Netanyahu political bloc.

Related: Understanding the ominous rise of Israel’s most notorious ultra-nationalist

Despite Ben Gvir’s comments, an entire month remains before the deadline for submitting party lists on September 15, meaning that there is time for negotiations to resume.

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