Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s
joint Likud Beytenu list will warn voters in its campaign that if they vote for
a satellite party on the Right, the Center-Left could form the next
This change in strategy came after polls last week indicated
that Likud Beytenu had fallen to as few as 33 Knesset seats, and had lost as
many as six seats over the past three weeks to Bayit Yehudi and Shas.
campaign will stress the importance of Likud Beytenu receiving more votes than
the combination of Labor, Yesh Atid and The Tzipi Livni Party, in order to
prevent President Shimon Peres from assigning the task of forming the next
government to Livni or Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich.
strategist Arthur Finkelstein arrived in Israel on Tuesday and met on Wednesday
with Netanyahu and the heads of the Likud campaign. He advised them to stop
attacking Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, and instead to reveal extremist
and chauvinist statements made by candidates on the Bayit Yehudi candidates
The chairman of the Likud campaign, Education Minister Gideon
Sa’ar, immediately took Finkelstein’s advice. At a meeting with students at
Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan on Wednesday, he criticized Bayit Yehudi’s No.
4 candidate, Rabbi Eli Ben- Dahan, for calling for the cancellation of the
Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, and its No. 9
candidate, Moti Yogev, for leading the effort to separate the sexes when he
headed the religious-Zionist youth group Bnei Akiva.
The party’s campaign
will run under the slogan “Bayit Yehudi: Not what you thought.”
will also have billboards with positive slogans such as “A Strong Prime Minister for a Strong Israel.”
reportedly scolded the heads of his campaign on Wednesday, complaining about the
weakness of his party in the field and demanding cooperation with Likud
activists who told him that they were being ignored.
officials also said the party needed to do a better job of staying
They complained about recent hawkish statements made by Likud
Beytenu candidates Yair Shamir, Yuli Edelstein, Ze’ev Elkin, Yariv Levin and
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom criticized Feiglin for calling
for the money spent on the Iron Dome missile defense system to be spent on
bribing Palestinians to move to a different country. In an interview with Army
Radio, Shalom called the idea of transferring Arabs illegitimate.
predicted that the Likud would recover ahead of the January 22
“There is a pattern of us going in a direction that we did not
want to go,” he said.
“But the elections are still three weeks away and
things could change significantly in that time. The real analysis needs to wait
for January 23.”
In an effort to attract young voters, Netanyahu will
host a rally with a pub-like atmosphere on Sunday at the trendy Tel Aviv Port.
The rally will come in place of visits to actual pubs, which Netanyahu’s rivals
have been doing regularly but the prime minister cannot for security
The Likud canceled an event set for Thursday in Holon out of
concern there would be a low turnout, as an event it held with Netanyahu in
Upper Nazareth on Sunday was poorly attended.