Thursday is Last Day to Submit Official Knesset Lists

The deadline to submit party lists for the 20th Knesset to the Central Elections Committee is Thursday night at midnight. 

Despite predications and speculation that different parties will publish unity lists at the last moment, this now seems unlikely. 

After a public blow-up of talks with Yachad-Ha'am Itanu, Otzma Yehudit Chairman Michael Ben-Ari said Wednesday that last ditch efforts would result in a unity announcement by 6:00 p.m.

However, no further update was given, indicating that both parties will run independently. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made headlines Wednesday night when he published the names of the two individuals taking the 11th and 23rd spots on the Likud's list – spots reserved for candidates of the chairman's choice. 

Both candidates are female academics with no previous political experience. 

The 11th slot will go to Dr. Anat Berko, a world renowned terrorism expert, who teaches at the IDC Herzliya's Lauder School of Government. 

Taking the 23rd spot is Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, an assistant professor at the Federman School of Public Policy and Government at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 

The Likud secretariat is expected to meet Thursday to discuss Netanyahu's application and confirm the appointments of Berko and Samimian-Darash. 

Netanyahu's choice of Berko and Samimian-Darash puts a short stop to estimations that former Shin Bet chief Avi DIchter would receive the 11th spot. Dichter will remain in the 26th place, after a weeks-long struggle between him and MK Tzipi Hotovely for the 20th position. 

At this point, it also appears highly unlikely that Likud and Jewish Home will create a united right-bloc as some officials have been calling for in recent weeks. 

Jewish Home, meanwhile, has suffered its own controversy this week upon Chairman Naftali Bennett's decision to reserve a spot on the party's list for former soccer star Eli Ohana. 

The decision provoked strong criticism, even fury, from party members against Bennett. Those discontent with Bennett's decision called it a betrayal and noted that even secular voters oppose the move. 

On the other side of the political spectrum, Labor-Hatnua has ruled out the possibility of a unity agreement with other center-left parties. Some talk has floated around in the last few weeks of a possible deal with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party. 

Labor Chairman Yitzhak Herzog filed the joint Labor-Hatnua list, under the banner "The Zionist Camp," with the Central Elections Committee Wednesday. 



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