A pair of ultra-Orthodox lawmakers allied with the ruling Likud party urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow another right-wing Knesset member who can assemble a ruling majority to serve first as premier for 18 months, as part of a rotation agreement.
The letter penned by United Torah Judaism MKs Meir Porush and Yisrael Eichler notes their Haredi party has stuck with Netanyahu through the four inconclusive national elections since April 2019.
“Your request to now maintain the Likud-religious-ultra-Orthodox bloc is completely understandable to not lend a hand to the formation of a center-left government,” they write to Netanyahu.
Nevertheless, Porush and Eichler say they have “no desire” for fifth elections, predicting a loss for the right-wing religious bloc.
“The only way to prevent a left-wing government and also prevent elections is your clear declaration before a government is formed that you will grant someone from the right-wing bloc who will succeed in uniting the 65 right-wing MKs the premiership for a year and a half in the first rotation,” they say.
While that other MK serves as premier, Eichler and Porush say, Netanyahu will be alternative prime minister and “can concentrate the diplomatic effort vis-a-vis the Biden administration, peace agreements and nuclear Iran.”
The two describe their appeal to Netanyahu as a “last effort to prevent Naftali Bennett from being pushed into the arms of Liberman and Lapid,” who are in talks on forming a unity government.
Netanyahu said he offered Bennett to serve first as premier for a year if the latter’s Yamina party joins with him. However, even if Bennett were to throw in his lot with the right-wing religious bloc, the prime minister would still be short of a majority due to the far-right Religious Zionism’s party opposition to any coalition propped up the Islamist Ra’am.