Four weeks before the January 22 election, the Likud changed its strategy from
negative to positive Tuesday, emphasizing the achievements of Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu rather than the faults of his political opponents.
change came amid public opinion polls indicating that the Likud had steadily
fallen in support since Netanyahu decided to run on a joint list with former
foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.
unveiled two new election ads, one featuring ordinary Israelis from all sectors
saying they would vote for the list, and the other under the slogan “When
Netanyahu talks, people listen,” showcasing the prime minister’s top speeches in
English around the world.
Netanyahu and Liberman came on stage together
at the joint list’s opening rally Tuesday night at the Jerusalem International
Convention Center. Liberman said it was the first time they had made a joint
appearance on that stage since the Likud’s victory party in 1996.
achievements Netanyahu listed in his speech at the event included the Iron Dome
missile defense system, the international effort to prevent Iran’s
nuclearization, 400,000 new jobs, improving education figures, stopping migrants
from infiltrating the country, and bringing home captive soldier Gilad Schalit.
He promised to lower housing costs the way cellular costs had fallen
The prime minister urged Israelis not to “waste their vote”
on small sectarian parties, promising that the larger his faction was, the more
he would be able to deliver in his next term on key issues like equalizing the
burden of IDF service and changing the electoral system.
meanwhile, attacked the Left for its concessions to Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas. In contrast to his messages four years ago when he ran
at the helm of Yisrael Beytenu, he said votes for parties to the Right of the
Likud weakened the prime minister.
“The enlightened Left tried to divide
Jerusalem, but Abu Mazen said ‘nyet,’” Liberman said. “The difference between us
and the Left is that we want a built Jerusalem, and they want a divided
Jerusalem. Who will know how to deal with threats from Hamas: Yair [Lapid] or
Bibi [Netanyahu]? The threat from Hezbollah: Tzipi [Livni] or Bibi? The Iranian
threat: Shelly [Yacimovich] or Bibi?”