Zehut Party votes to approve deal with Netanyahu to drop out of elections


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s far-right and libertarian Zehut Party overwhelmingly approved an agreement between party head Moshe Feiglin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to drop out of next month’s national elections.

Some 73 percent of Zehut members voted in favor of the deal Sunday in an on-line referendum. Feiglin made the announcement on Sunday evening.

Under the agreement announced on Thursday, Zehut and Likud will not merge, but Feiglin will receive a ministerial position in a Likud-led government in an economic capacity. Also, a bill to ease restrictions on medical cannabis — a cause championed by Feiglin — will be brought to the Knesset.

Some opposition politicians have called the deal an illegal bribe by Netanyahu, who failed to form a coalition following April’s election. The deal is an effort to shore up right-wing votes from smaller parties.

The party combines far-right ideology and libertarian policy, and has appealed to Israeli voters across the political spectrum. The party fell short of the 3.25 percent electoral threshold in April.

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