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Wednesday, September 11, 2019 

Nafatli Bennett is actually still chairman of his faction, despite Ayelet Shaked's placement on top

The Times of Israel revealed that, despite putting Ayelet Shaked up as the ostensible chairwoman of Yamina, Naftali Bennett still remains in charge of his own faction of the party:
Naftali Bennett is the chairman of the New Right party, not Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked, as the two have led the public to believe, Zman Yisrael, the Hebrew sister site of The Times of Israel, revealed on Tuesday.

Formerly the leader of the Jewish Home party, Bennett, along with then-justice minister Shaked, split from the national-religious party in December 2018 to form the New Right, saying their new party seeks to forge a full, equal partnership between the secular and religious sectors.

The two had hoped to pull votes away from both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and the Union of Right-Wing Parties – a faction comprising of the Jewish Home, the National Union, and the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party – but the maneuver failed and New Right did not pass the 3.25% electoral threshold in the April 9 elections.

Ahead of the second vote this year, set for September 17 after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition, New Right joined forces with Jewish Home and the National Union to form the Yamina alliance and, in an attempt to broaden voter appeal, named Shaked – a controversial but very popular politician – as its leader.

However, a review of the New Right’s party bylaws reveals that Bennett has remained New Right chairman, despite Shaked being publicly presented as its leader throughout the campaign and being placed at No. 1 on Yamina’s Knesset slate. Bennett is New Right’s No. 2, making him No. 4 on Yamina’s merged slate.

As New Right’s chairman, Bennett maintains the authority to split the party from Yamina after the elections, potentially leaving Shaked with no Knesset faction to head.

New Right declined to comment on the party’s official legal status and Zman Yisrael’s attempt to get a clear answer on whether Bennett was indeed the sole chairman or if Shaked was listed in other official documents as co-chairwoman was met with a refusal by the party to comment.

The reason for this ambiguity seems to be the party’s desire to maintain Shaked’s status as head of Yamina during the election campaign and defer any discussion on the faction’s political future until after the results come in.
This explains why, when they allegedly sought a merger with Itamar ben-Gvir's Otzma Yehidit faction, Shaked told him she'd have to get Bennett's approval on anything, and Bennett apparently sabotaged any chance of merging them as well. Not that I think much of ben-Gvir, but this just compounds why I've never been very impressed with Shaked any more than Bennett. It's not an authentic leadership they're presenting, and with the way Shaked's been using scare tactics in some of her campaign speeches that Netanyahu is going to form a government with the left/Gantz/Lapid/Amir Peretz is quite honestly disgusting. It just shows what a lack of confidence she really has in her own abilities to lead. Her English-language accent isn't very impressive either.

I guess this is just one more reason why I'd rather vote for the Likud than Yamina. Bennett's the main problem, of course, and his shadow only makes Yamina less appealing to me.

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