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United Right Party -- Yamina

The United Right (Hebrew: הימין המאוחד, HaYamin HaMeuhad) is an Israeli political alliance of right-wing to far-right parties formed by the New Right and the Union of Right-Wing Parties. The parties agreed to unite in an effort to surpass the electoral threshold needed to win seats in the Knesset. Following the failure to pass the threshold in the April 2019 election, New Right leader Naftali Bennett agreed to give the leadership of the new party to Ayelet Shaked, which made the new union even more remarkable given the belief that male Orthodox political leaders would never recognize the leadership of a secular woman.

The United Right won seven seats in the September 2019 election.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressured Naftali Bennett to form a union with the far-right parties to increase the chance they would exceed the electoral threshold in March 2020. Bennett, however, decided to run a joint slate – Yamina – with his Hayamin Hehadash Party and the National Union Party without the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit Party. Shaked was replaced by Bennett as leader of the slate.

In 2021, Bezalel Smotrich decided to pull his Religious Zionism Party out of the union. 

Raoul Wootliff noted that Bennett’s party “is relatively liberal on church and state matters, and is looking to expand the party’s appeal beyond religious voters, as part of his declared run for prime minister.”

In the March 2021 election, Bennett’s Yamina Party won seven seats, but due to the split between the pro- and anti-Netanyahu factions, he was viewed as the kingmaker. While his natural allies are on the right, his opposition to Netanyahu, with whom he was once close before having a falling out, led him to reject an offer to join a coalition where he would become prime minister for two years and Netanyahu for two. When Netanyahu failed to form a coalition and Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid was given the mandate to form a government, Bennett agreed to join a coalition with Lapid and six other parties, including the Islamist Ra’am Party. According to the agreement, Bennett would serve as prime minister for the first two years and Lapid for the second two. 

The government collapsed after just over one year.  It had been teetering at the brink as disgruntled lawmakers refused to maintain party discipline. Defections led to the coalition losing its one-vote majority and Bennett decided to dissolve the Knesset and call for new elections. The motion was approved and, per the coalition agreement, Lapid became the prime minister until a new government can be formed. Bennett announced he would not run in the next election and turned over the reins of the party to Shaked.

In the runup to the November 2022 elections, Yamina suffered a number of defections, including Matan Kahana, who was Religious Affairs Minister in the previous government, and MK Shirly Pinto. Shaked recruited two former members of the New Hope Party, Yoaz Hendel and Tzvi Hauser, to form a new Zionist Spirit Party, but the partnership collapsed three days before party lists must be submitted because of a disagreement over whether to join a government led by Netanyahu. Shaked was willing but the others weren’t.

Sources: “United Right,” Wikipedia.
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