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Likud says right-wing, Haredi factions have ‘committed’ to staying together

Right-wing and ultra-Orthodox political leaders rallied around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agreeing to present a united front ahead of coalition talks after they jointly came up short of winning enough seats in Tuesday’s elections to form a new majority government.

Netanyahu met at his office Wednesday with United Torah Judaism party heads Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni, as well as Ayelet Shaked, Rafi Peretz, Bezalel Smotrich and Naftali Bennett of the Yamina electoral alliance. He met earlier in the day with Aryeh Deri, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.

A spokesman for the premier’s Likud party said the party chiefs decided to set up a joint negotiation team for coalition talks and act as a “single right-wing bloc” moving forward.

An official from one of the parties said that such a united bloc would increase the right’s chances of forming the next government, the Walla news site reported.

While not enough to form a coalition on its own, Channel 12 reported that Netanyahu is hoping that President Reuven Rivlin will consider the 55-seat bloc as a single party and therefore agree to task Netanyahu with forming the next government because he has a bigger faction than the Blue and White party.