Two large parties rule the roster of 30 lists signing on by the Wednesday midnight deadline to run in the 2020 election in 47 days. Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan. After a last-minute cliffhanger, Netanyahu persuaded two right-wing parties to merge: Defense Minister Naftali Bennet’s New Right and Education Minister Rafi Peretz’s Jewish Home. The far-right Itamar Ben-Gvir and his Otzma party stayed out of the deal, accusing Peretz of perfidy. In another last-minute surprise, Ethiopian-born lawmaker Gadi Yevarkan jumped ship from Kahol Lavan to take up Likud’s offer of 20th slot on its list.
Top places in the Likud slate, led by Netanyahu, are held by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, MK Gideon Sa’ar. Culture Minister Miri Regev, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Agriculture Minister Yoav Gallant and MK Nir Barkat.
Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi occupy the top slots of Kahol Lavan.
On the left, mergers for beating the threshold placed Labor leader Amir Peretz first, followed by Gesher leader Orly Abkasis-Levi, with far-left Meretz leader Horowitz in third place; Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) comes next and Itzik Shmuli (Labor) places 5th. The Meretz Arab lawmaker quit after being dropped to an unrealistic slot.
On the right, after the last-minute scramble, Naftali Bennett heads the list, with Peretz in second place. Ayelet Shaked dropped to third and Transport Minister Bezalel Smotrich to fourth.