2 right-wing Israeli parties unite after left-leaning alliance formed ahead of elections

Two right-wing Israeli political parties joined forces on Tuesday to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The move came a day after a left-leaning alliance was announced.

Israel is gearing up for its third election in less than a year after neither Netanyahu nor his centrist rival Benny Gantz were able to form a coalition following two polls last year.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ruled out an alliance on Monday, but just hours later his New Right party struck a deal with Transport Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s National Union faction, AFP reported.

On Monday, the left-wing Labor-Gesher and Meretz parties announced they were joining forces for the March 2 election. Political parties have until Wednesday night to present their lists to Israel’s electoral commission.