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Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit on verge of deal for far-right alliance

MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, speaks during a press conference ahead of the upcoming elections, in Jerusalem, July 11, 2022; MK Bezalel Smotrich, right, leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, June 6, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, speaks during a press conference ahead of the upcoming elections, in Jerusalem, July 11, 2022; MK Bezalel Smotrich, right, leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, June 6, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties are on the verge of renewing their alliance for the coming election after weeks of tensions between the two far-right outfits.

The parties ran together under the Religious Zionism banner in the last election, but the rising popularity on the right of Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir has led him to make greater demands as the parties head into the November election.

Religious Zionism leader MK Bezalel Smotrich leaks to Channel 12 news his latest offer to Ben Gvir, and Ben Gvir issues a statement to the press immediately accepting the offer.

According to the proposed deal, Smotrich and Ben Gvir will co-chair the faction and both parties will receive equal numbers of spots in the first 10 positions on the electoral list, including a mutually agreed candidate for the number seven spot.
Smotrich will take first position on the list and Ben Gvir second.

Upon hearing the offer, Ben Gvir says in his statement that he agrees to the offer “because I have no doubt that MK Smotrich will not oppose putting Otzma’s candidate in at number seven” adding that he heard the offer for the first time through Channel 12.

A spokesperson for the Religious Zionism party issues a statement in response saying that according to “sources” in the party that the offer had been made to Ben Gvir “in recent days,” and that “now is the time to sign” the deal and begin the party’s election campaign.

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