Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog at Jerusalem Post office in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said Thursday that in light of the latest polls that put his party several mandates ahead of the Likud, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has "displayed severe panic and returned to the rhetoric of fear and threats in recent days."
A series of internal polls taken this week by the Zionist Union by former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s pollster, Kalman Geyer, found the Zionist Union leading the Likud by five to seven Knesset seats – the Zionist Union with as many as 28 and as few as 24 seats, and the Likud with as many as 21 and as few as 18.
Speaking in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday, Herzog discussed the possibility that President Reuven Rivlin would select him to form the next coalition following the March 17 election. "I have spoken with many of the party leaders and understand well that things said before the election and are not necessarily honored after the election. I am sure of my ability to form a good government."
Asked about Shas chairman Arye Deri's recent pronouncement that he would recommend to the president that Netanyahu form the coalition, Herzog said: "We are all in the middle of a campaign. Many things are said and we react in a certain way. I say that in every group in our society sacred cows are being slaughtered. There is a deep discontent and people want something different. In the end, I discover the common denominator: everyone wants a better life, and Arye Deri as well knows that his public is sick of what they have gotten from Netanyahu."
Herzog warned against becoming enamored with his success in the polls in the days before the election. "The historical lesson for everyone that has ever been in an election campaign like this is, first and foremost, not to boast and not to be arrogant. There are still more long days and nights and anything can happen."Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.