In dramatic shift, Yamina breaks with right-wing bloc to join the opposition

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Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (R), Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (L), hold a press confrence of the New Right Political party, in Tel Aviv on March 17, 2019. Photo by Flash90

National-religious faction accuses Likud of “gross disrespect,” says unity government will be “leftist” • Likud official: “We hope Yamina will come to its senses.”

Israel’s national-religious Yamina faction announced Sunday that its coalition talks with the Likud Party have failed and that it will be joining the benches of the opposition in the coming Knesset, where it will be “preparing for the day after Netanyahu.”

The faction, an alliance of the Jewish Home, National Union and New Right parties, claimed throughout the coalition talks that despite being a pivotal part of the right-wing bloc shoring up Isralei Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s future government, Netanyahu’s Likud had failed to offer it any of the major government portfolios.

In a statement laced with scathing criticism, Yamina accused the prime minister of showing  “gross disrespect” towards its members and claimed the unity government the Likud plans on forming with Blue and White would be “leftist.”

“Given the makeup of the government that is shaping up and its apparent policies as a left-wing government headed by Netanyahu, and in light of the gross disrespect the prime minister has shown toward Yamina and its electorate, the party has decided to serve the public and the nationalist camp as part of the opposition in the coming [Knesset] term,” Yamina said in a statement.Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

The decision was made “following exhaustive negotiations with the Likud … which has chosen to dismantle the right-wing bloc,” the statement continued.

Yamina further accused Netanyahu of trying to break apart the alliance between its constituent parties, and vowed that “that will never happen.”

The faction declared that while in the opposition, it will “prepare for the day after Netanyahu” and pledged to form a “real, right-wing alternative” to the Likud.

“We do not regret for a moment the loyalty we have shown to the right-wing bloc over the past year. Joining the opposition at this time reflects our loyalty to the right-wing public, to which Netanyahu is no longer loyal,” said the statement.

“We urge Netanyahu to ensure the needs of the religious-Zionist sector in the next government,” the statement concluded.

Israeli media later reported that New Right co-founder Knesset member Ayelet Shaked opposed the move, saying of informing the media that Yamina was joining the opposition that “there would be no walking that back.”

Likud insiders told Israel Hayom that Shaked’s reservations may indicate that the announcement was the national-religious faction’s last-ditch effort to pressure Likud to yield to its demands.

The Likud dismissed Yamina’s criticism and urged it “to exercise national responsibility.”

“If we had offered Yamina an additional portfolio, would it be enough of a right-wing government for them?” one Likud official asked, referring to the fact Yamina, which won only six Knesset seats, was offered two portfolios and a Knesset committee chairmanship.

“This is the first government in Israel’s history that plans to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and it is unfortunate that Yamina will not be a part of it just because of its own internal fighting over who gets which portfolio. We hope that Yamina will come to its senses, demonstrate national responsibility and join the government that will lead a historic move in the chronicles of Zionism,” the official said.

(JNS and Israel Hayom).

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