While Jewish Home officials have urged Yachad Ha'am Itanu's Eli Yishai and Otzma Yehudit's Michael Ben-Ari to unite, such a pact could actually harm a right-wing bloc, according to a new poll.
A survey from the Panels Politics institute for Otzma Yehudit published Saturday night projects seven seats for a technical bloc between the two parties, which previous polls indicate would not pass the Knesset threshold independently.
However, the union would also severely impact the Jewish Home party – leaving it with just 13 seats instead of the 16-18 projected in numerous polls over the past several weeks.
Shas would also take a hit, according to the survey, at a projected six seats instead of the 7-8 predicted recently for the party.
With regard to other Knesset parties, Likud and Labor would be neck-and-neck for the top spot, with 22 seats each.
Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid and the joint Arab list would win 11 seats each, followed by Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party at eight seats, a tie between United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu at 7 seats each, and Shas bottoming out the list with Meretz at six seats.
Ultimately, in the race to form a coalition, the right-wing bloc has a slight edge – given a total of 42 seats between Likud, Jewish Home, and Yachad Ha'am-Itanu (the three most likely parties to unite for the right-wing government). For the left, these results project just 39 seats between Labor, Meretz, and the Arab parties (the mostly likely guaranteed parties to join a left-wing government). 61 seats are needed to form a coalition.
Speculation over a technical bloc between Yishai and Ben-Ari resulted in a flurry of comments last week, after Jewish Home MK and Housing Minister Uri Ariel urged the parties to unite to strengthen the right-wing bloc.
But on Friday, it was made known to Arutz Sheva that Yishai has evidently refused a joint list with Otzma Yehudit in talks with Kiryat Arba and Hevron chief rabbi Rabbi Dov Lior, who has supported Ben-Ari.
Sources with Yishai told Arutz Sheva that they don't want to join with Otzma Yehudit fearing the media stigma of him as "extremist," given his call to deport hostile Arab radicals from Israel.