Israel’s Jewish Home party splits ahead of April election

Israeli Education Minister Bennett and Justice Minister Shaked enter the room before delivering their statements in Tel Aviv

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (R) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, from the Jewish Home party, enter the room before delivering their statements in Tel Aviv, Israel December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Corinna Kern

Source: Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A religious-nationalist party in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government split on Saturday, with its leaders saying they were bolting to appeal to more secular constituents ahead of an April election.

The Jewish Home party’s schism posed no immediate threat to Netanyahu, for whom polls predict an easy win to a fifth term. But it suggested his fellow rightists were interested in poaching votes from a center-left opposition energized by the candidacy of an Israeli ex-general, Benny Gantz.

The Jewish Home leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, told reporters that he and his deputy, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, were leaving to form “a new party, of religious and secular together … in true partnership”.

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