Chaim Amsalem, who ran a futile campaign at the head of his own party, Am Shalem, in the last Knesset election, has joined the Likud party.
Among the reasons for his decision were the new law raising the electoral threshold for entry into the Knesset, and his unsuccessful effort to join Habayit Hayehudi.
Amsalem quit Shas and formed the Am Shalem party in 2013.
In the January 2013 Knesset election, Am Shalem garnered some 50,000 votes, but failed to pass the electoral threshold.
Understanding that his party would have a slim chance of passing the election threshold in the next election — the recent passage of the Governance Sustainability Law raised the election threshold from 2 to 3.25 percent — Amsalem decided to join another party. He first held talks with Habayit Hayehudi leaders, but these were unsuccessful, he then decided to join Likud and submitted his membership form on Tuesday at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnuah) is mulling a return to Labor, and the guest list for his Pesach toast tonight indicates that the rumors may be true.
While Peretz invited his party’s chairwoman, Tzipi Livni, as well as other Hatnuah MKs, he also invited several associates from his Labor days, including Eitan Cabel and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, among others. Officials in the party said Peretz’s invitation to notable Labor members was exceptional, because holiday toasts are usually party-specific.