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"Boom!" read the headline of a supplement in Israeli weekly Makor Rishon, after two leading politicians, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, announced on December 29 that they were jumping ship from the Jewish Home Party to create the New Right Party. The question Israeli pundits are trying to answer now is whether that boom—or "blast" as most of the press characterizes it—is an explosion or an implosion. Will it strengthen the national camp or will it bring it to its knees?
The ruling Likud Party wasted little time in slamming the New Right as a threat to the entire right. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "It will break the right into slivers of slivers. Parties won't make it past the electoral threshold." Netanyahu referred to the 3.25 percent of the vote a party must win in order to enter the Knesset. Passing that threshold gives a party four seats. Failing to pass means the loss of all the votes that had gone to that party.
Netanyahu - Slivers - Government - Israel - System
Netanyahu counts on those slivers to build his government. In Israel's parliamentary system, a government must have a majority of at least 61 votes in the 120-seat Knesset. How does Likud fare in the polls? Much better than the others, but still with only 30 seats.
Likud fears are more than mere scare-mongering. Polls place two to three right-wing parties perilously close to the abyss, and some analysts estimate that even the loss of one right-wing party is enough to hand the reins of government to a center-left coalition.
Effort - Right-wing - Parties - Knesset - Likud
In an effort to ensure all of the (now seven) right-wing parties make it into the Knesset, the Likud has launched a campaign to lower the electoral threshold. Ironically, if successful, it would reverse a decades-long process in which that threshold has been gradually raised in...
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