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Zionist Spirit: Shaked’s Yamina and Hendel’s Derech Eretz unite for elections

Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) and Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz) merge their parties to form the Zionist Spirit party, July 27, 2022. (Ariel Zandberg)
Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) and Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz) merge their parties to form the Zionist Spirit party, July 27, 2022. (Ariel Zandberg)

Yamina party leader Ayelet Shaked and Derech Eretz chair Yoaz Hendel sign an agreement to unite ahead of elections in November.

Recent polling shows that Yamina is at risk of falling below the 3.25% electoral threshold needed to win representation in the Knesset.

The joint slate will go by the name Zionist Spirit.

Derech Eretz was granted the 2nd and 4th slots on the new faction’s electoral slate. Shaked will lead the party.

Hendel’s faction, formerly part of Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party, was not included in Sa’ar’s decision to join forces with Defense Minister Gantz’s Blue and White party for the election.

Yamina, previously led by former prime minister Naftali Bennett, was badly battered by its time in power. Some of its voter base was angered over Bennett’s decision to partner with left-wing parties and the Islamist Ra’am faction in the government, and several of its lawmakers defected.

Shaked took the reins of the party when Bennett was replaced as prime minister last month and announced he was stepping away from politics.

While Shaked sought in vain to help former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu form a new coalition last month without resort to elections, Hendel firmly opposed any partnership with Netanyahu.

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