Ruach Tzionit off to a quiet start

July 28, 2022 by Gil Tanenbaum - TPS
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Yamina, the party previously led by former Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennet and currently led by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, has merged with the Derech Eretz (the way of the land) Party, which is led by current Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel.

Ayelet Shaked Mar 8, 2022. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS

Their new party is called “Ruach Tzionit” (Zionist spirit).

The two leaders held a festive press conference Wednesday evening announcing the move. But there were not that many people in attendance. The press conference began during the middle of the 8 PM daily news broadcasts on Israel’s 3 broadcast television channels which turned to offer live coverage, but they all broke away from it after a short period of time.

Yamina was originally formed as a coalition of right-wing parties supported by Israel’s National Religious community. However, Yamina alienated much of the party’s base of support when it agreed to join a coalition government with the left-wing Labor and Meretz parties and that was supported from the outside by an Arab party.

Yoaz Hendel originally served in the Telem Party, which was part of the Blue and White coalition. At the end of 2020, Handel formed Derech Eretz as a new party and formed a joint list together with the New Hope Party led by current Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

According to all of the polls conducted since new elections were called a month ago, New Hope has little of any chance of passing the minimum threshold for getting into the next Knesset.

Yamina is also in trouble, with polls showing it failing to get into the Knesset too.

Several of its members who helped bring down the previous coalition government are said to have made deals to run in the elections with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

Shaked had also been looking for a similar deal and is said to have offered support for a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud instead of dissolving the Knesset and calling for new elections.

Both Shaked and Hendel were clearly desperate to increase their chances in the November elections.

The two said that they will not rule out serving in a government led by Netanyahu but said that they want there to be a broad coalition.

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