Right-wing lawmakers present new party to Israeli Knesset

Israel Materials 3 November 2008 17:20 (UTC +04:00)

Lawmakers from four different ultra-natiolist and religious parties joined forces Monday to present a new united list which they hope will attract votes from much of the right-wing public in Israel, including settlers and their supporters, reported dpa.

The new far-right party, which does not have a name yet, hopes that by uniting it will draw votes away from the hardline, but more mainstream Likud party of former premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

The four smaller parties which are joining forces are the National Religious Party (NRP), Tkuma, Moledet and Ahi.

They all vehemently oppose the Oslo peace process with the Palestinians, which launched in 1993 calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Believing the "Greater Land of Israel" is the birthright of the Jewish people, they therefore reject any withdrawal and evacuation of Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank as well as the Golan Heights. Some of them also notoriously advocate the "transfer" of Israel's Arab citizens to neighbouring Arab states.

The four parties already ran as a joint bloc in the last legislative elections of March 2006 known as the National Union-NRP, but have now formally ceased to exist separately to form a new, joint one.

With 9 seats in the 120-member Knesset, the bloc is the sixth largest in the Israeli parliament. The NRP was one of Israel's oldest parties.

Effi Eitaim, one of the NRP-National Union's most prominent legislators, however, has announced he will not be a member of the new list and instead join the Likud. Eitam is known as a controversial former army officer and for his uncompromising, hawkish views on the Middle East conflict.

NRP-National Union leaders Zvulun Orlev, Zvi Hendel, Yitzhak Levy and Benjamin Elon presented their new party to the Knesset early Monday afternoon.