Two new parties drop out of the election race
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai abandoned his first bid for parliament with a new party that he dubbed The Israelis. MK Ofer Shelah, who broke away from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, also threw in the towel. Both lists failed to poll enough ratings to cross the Knesset threshold. They had waited for the final hours before the deadline for filing their slates on Thursday at 10 p.m. before giving up on the mergers that could have rescued them. The Likud slate was presented by MK David Biton, just recovered from a long and serious bout of coronavirus. Two far-right national religious parties led by Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir were persuaded by PM Binyamin Netanyahu to join forces. Alone, neither would have survived. Together, they could offer the Likud leader a potential 4-5 seats to boost his claim to lead the next government.
MK Mansour Abbas filed his Ra’am party as an independent faction thereby splitting the Joint Arab Front.