MK Yoni Chetboun, who left Jewish Home to run with Eli Yishai's new Yachad – Ha'am Itanu party, responded disparagingly to Jewish Home minister and Tekuma faction head Uri Ariel's call for Yishai's party to run with former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari's Otzma Yehudit.
Ariel said Thursday "Yishai must pass the threshold, because if not then three seats, four or five if we add…Otzma Yehudit, will go to waste and put the right in a difficult position. The solution to this problem is if…(they) run together. If they run together, they'll pass the threshold and join the right-wing coalition."
However, Chetboun apparently did not take favorably to the call for a technical bloc joint list that would allow the two parties to split later and keep their seats if they so desired.
"The Yachad party is the home of all right-wing voters and lovers of the land of Israel," claimed Chetboun. "If the personal future of Ben-Ari troubles the minister (Ariel), he is invited to reserve a spot for him on the Jewish Home list as is allowed by the new (party) constitution."
In fact Ben-Ari, when he was an MK with National Union on a similar technical bloc arrangement, refused a place offered to him on Jewish Home when the two parties merged, saying "I didn't join because I asked what are the principles and what are the limits, and they said there are no limits."
Chetboun's comments indicating an aversion to running together with Otzma Yehudit come despite the fact that polls have shown the two handily passing the threshold percentage with four or five seats, whereas Ha'am Itanu running alone would either squeak in at four seats or else according to many polls not make it in.
It also comes despite the fact that Ben-Ari has expressed willingness to run together, even meeting with Yishai's rabbinical counsel Rabbi Meir Mazuz.
Arutz Sheva has learned that Ben-Ari has said that in the meeting, Rabbi Mazuz reportedly said the party is particularly eager to enter a Likud led coalition to secure funds for affiliated yeshivas, whereas Otzma Yehudit is unlikely to join a coalition unless clear ideological red lines – such as not releasing terrorists, not freezing construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and not holding negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), all of which were conducted by the outgoing coalition – are set.
Chetboun concluded saying "we are laboring with all our strength on an historical process of unity between religious Zionism and the haredi public. In this way we will be the right anchor and the Jewish flak jacket of the next nationalist camp government. We are busy with that, and we ask the minister (Ariel) not to sabotage the process."