Analysis: Outgoing legislators can switch parties until one month before the elections but will do so without their portion of election financing if they remain undecided by midnight on Sunday; Shaked’s Yamina, which hopes to be kingmaker after ballot – facing critical challenge

At midnight on Sunday, the deadline for outgoing members of Knesset to leave their current factions with funding and move to different political parties, expires.

Those who are still undecided, can change their party affiliation up to one month before the elections according to law, but unless they make the move by the end of the day, they will do so without their portion of the party’s election financing.

איילת שקד ומתן כהנא בפגישה
Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana with Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked


The deadline has brought to the forefront, a dilemma in the Yamina party, which was founded and led by former prime minister Naftali Bennett until last week, when he announced his resignation.

His long-time political ally Ayelet Shaked succeeded him in at the helm of the party but not all members are in complete agreement with the direction she had announced.

Shaked said she would join a Netanyahu-led government after the elections, should she be asked. Likud members have openly said she is unwelcome.

Considered a die-hard right-winger, Shaked stepped out of her comfort zone to take part in Bennett’s coalition government, which included factions from the left and the Islamist Ra’am party, despite expressing her discomfort in the political alliance.

She and Bennett, had come under attack from their former cohorts in the right, who claimed the Yamina party and its leaders, violated the trust given to them by their voters when they opted to form such a coalition.

Should she fail to win enough votes to cross the threshold into the next parliament, Shaked may be blamed for opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a new government. But if she succeeds, her party may be Netanyahu’s lifeline to retaking power after loosing the ballot in 2021.

The previous election campaign highlighted the opposition to Netanyahu – who is facing corruption charges, even among members of the right.

בנימין נתניהו בבית המשפט
Benjamin Netanyahu in the Jerusalem District Court where he is on trial for corruption (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch )


Former Likud members Gideon Saar and Zeev Elkin along with others, joined to form the New Hope party announced announced, they would not support Netanyahu as prime minister because of his indictment.

New Hope was a part of the Bennett coalition and remains in the caretaker government led by Yair Lapid.

Netanyahu had failed to muster a majority to form a government in successive elections in the past three years.

After one ballot, and as the coronavirus pandemic broke out in 2020, he convinced Benny Gantz and the Blue & White party to cross the lines and form a coalition with him – claiming it was for the good of the nation, during a critical health emergency.

But Netanyahu quickly reneged on the deal he made with Gantz, sending voters once again to the polls and ultimately ending his 12-year run as prime minister.

The hard lesson learned by Gantz – was further proof that Netanyahu’s promises were likely to be broken, making political alliances with him rare outside his camp of supporters from Likud, the far-right and the ultra-Orthodox parties.

The same dilemma now threatens Shaked as she embarks on her own political campaign. Three members of Yamina had already deserted the coalition, bringing it to an end.

Former whip Idit Silman and Nir Orbach refused to support the coalition in critical votes and before them, Amichai Chikli said he would vote with the opposition. He was named a renegade by Yamina and the coalition and will be prevented from joining any other existing political faction in the fall elections.

יואב קיש ועידית סילמן
Former coalition whip Idit silman exchanges quiet words with Likud member Yoav Kicsh(Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)


Silman and Orbach have been promised safe seats in Likud for their defections.

Minister of Religious Affairs and a close ally of Bennett’s Matan Kahana, opposes Shaked’s position among other things, on Netanyahu’s suitability. He is expected to resign the party and is said to be negotiating for a seat in Gantz’s Blue & White list.

As reported by Ynetnews