Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

New Right party leader Ayelet Shaked will hold the third largest bloc in the Knesset if elections were held this week.

The Channel 12 News poll released on Tuesday night is a huge boost for the former Justice Minister Shaked ahead of elections on September 17.

Shaked announced her merged party on Sunday.

The Midgam Institute and iPanel survey had Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Blue and White, led by MK Benny Gantz, tied on 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

Shaked’s United Right would have 12 seats ahead Arab non-Zionist parties a seat further back.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party took seven seats in the poll.

Parties had until this week to announce mergers with Labor attempting to bring a left wing alliance to elections. Chances are not rated highly.

Running with Gesher, Labor would take five seats, its worst result in history.

Charedi parties would have 15 seats.

But MK Avigdor Lieberman will have a strong position in a coalition as his Israel Beiteinu party would take 10 seats according to the survey.

Weeks remain to elections with Shaked spearheading a unified bid of three right-wing parties.

‘United Right’ includes Jewish Home and National Union who signed an agreement on Monday.

Shaked takes top spot on the candidate list followed by Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home), Bezalel Smotrich (National Union) and New Right co-founder Naftali Bennett.

During coalition negotiations United Right will demand passage of the ‘Norwegian law’ enabling ministers to resign and pass seats to candidates on the party list.

Peretz will conduct coalition negotiations with Netanyahu if required.

“This is wonderful news for the right-wing bloc,” said Shaked. “Weeks of effort have now borne fruit. We have united the right-wing parties for a joint run to ensure costly votes are not taken away.”

Shaked was noting New Right “lost” votes in April when they failed to reach the threshold for the Knesset.

Peretz added, “We have safeguarded proper representation for religious Zionism on the joint list. Those who run together, win together. We are on our way.”

Peretz announced at a press conference on Sunday that former Justice Minister Shaked would lead the unified bid out of a sense of “national responsibility” and concern that a right-wing Zionist government would not be able to form following discussions with Shaked.

“Unity is the common goal that we all share,” he told reporters. “We will meet tonight to finalise the logistics involved in running together and we will begin our campaign.”

Shaked added, “The direction of the new party is one of unity, between all the various parties on the right-wing side of the spectrum. I believe in this ideal and have been working towards it for a long time.

“I hope that we will see white smoke rising tonight so that we can move on to the second stage of bringing in all of the right-wing parties under one united banner.”

The union does not include far-right parties Otzma Yehudit, Zehut and newly-formed Noam.

Otzma and Noam have unified, but Zehut party leader Moshe Feiglin said Shaked would not include his party.

Feiglin’s party failed to get sufficient votes to enter the Knesset earlier this year but confirmed Zehut would run independently on IDF Radio on Monday.

“The only one who didn’t waste his vote in the last elections was the one who voted Zehut,” he said.

“Although I brought more votes (than Shaked and Bennett), Shaked did not turn to me at all, no negotiations were conducted even though everyone knew our hands were outstretched. We will run ourselves and enter the Knesset.”

Despite Feiglin’s viewpoint, Shaked is determined to offer a broad right-wing coalition.

Barak’s party, left-wing Meretz and Labor’s Stav Shaffir have united in a left-wing alliance in attempts to defeat Netanyahu.

Shaffir joined the group after Labor leader Amir Peretz ruled out political mergers with other left-wing parties.

Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz leads the group, Shaffir is placed second on the party list.

“The founders of this union believe the establishment of The Democratic Camp is the first and necessary step in the mission to steer the State of Israel in the right direction,” said a statement.

Former Meretz party leader, Tamar Zandberg, said it was a “dramatic move” to strengthen the left.

Zandberg added that it was a “significant boost to justice and equality as an alternative to the corrupt and messianic right.”

According to the agreement, the Democratic Camp will not enter a right-wing coalition.

Horowitz, Shaffir and Barak will be the main decision-makers of the newly established group.

Meanwhile, Israel’s four Arab parties have merged ahead of the elections to boost turnout among its minority supporters.

Hadash, Ta’al, Ra’am and Balad held a press conference on Saturday.

Ayman Odeh, Hadash, said the group would address “great challenges” facing the country’s Arab minority that makes 20% of Israel’s population.

Balad is against a solely Jewish State, it wants Israel to be a State of all citizens.

Balad founder, Azmi Bishara, was indicted for supporting terrorist groups against Israel in 2002 and 2006.

Ofer Cassif, Hadash, added, “I’m convinced all four elements will work together in a tight and productive partnership against the ills of society, the occupation, racism, discrimination, violence, and for equality, democracy and justice for all, Arabs and Jews together.”

The unprecedented September elections is a result of Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister, failing to form a majority coalition government.

Netanyahu’s Likud dissolved parliament, necessitating polls for a second time in 2019.

Political parties had until this week to finalise election line-ups.

By Adam Moses