Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu waved to young supporters from behind the DJ’s
station in a Tel Aviv nightclub on Sunday evening, calling for the public to
strengthen Likud Beytenu so he can succeed in a third term after the January 22
“More than 1,000 young people [in the club] understand we need
a strong Likud. Any other vote may bring in a left-wing government,” the
prime minister said, calling for young voters to convince their friends to vote
Likud, while flanked by his sons and several MKs.
Before entering the
club, Netanyahu joked with reporters: “It’s not every day that I get to wear
jeans and hang out in the Tel Aviv Port.”
He walked into the dark room
with flashing, colorful lights as a song by Likud supporter and singer Eyal
Golan played: “He who believes is not afraid.”
After saying a few words
to the crowd, Netanyahu shook hands with some of the revelers in the front row,
and smiled as Sarit Haddad’s “You’re the Bomb,” the song that got Likud Beytenu in trouble recently, boomed through the loudspeakers.
“Vote Mahal, Mahal,
Mahal,” he told the crowd, referring to Likud Beytenu’s letters on voting slips,
amid cheers from supporters waving glow-sticks.
“Starting tomorrow, the
polls will turn around,” a Likud campaign spokesman said at the
Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel, who is chairwoman of the party’s
campaign for young voters and organizer of the event, pointed out the 1,000
partiers and several hundred who were left outside for safety reasons, comparing
the “flood of excited young Likudniks” to the rain outside.
“The young people are behind
Netanyahu, and we’ll help the prime minister be strong so that Israel is
strong,” Gamliel said.
Earlier on Sunday, in a rare interview with Israel
Radio, Netanyahu said he “needs a larger governing party.”
minister said he was unsurprised that Tzipi Livni and Labor chairwoman Shelly
Yacimovich planned to form a united front against him, saying he expected it to
happen either before or immediately after the election, in an attempt to bring
his government down.
“There is only one way to ensure that the Right will
run the government in Israel, which is to vote for me,” he said. “The smaller
Likud Beytenu gets, the smaller the chances are that we will form the next
government. Anyone who wants me to be prime minister but doesn’t vote for me, is
increasing the chances the Left will form the next government.”
Saturday night, Netanyahu told Channel 2 News that if he is reelected, he would
like a wide coalition with many parties, but that the Center-Left was already
The prime minister added, however, that if Livni were in
his government, he would still lead its diplomatic agenda, and that he would not
choose Yacimovich as finance minister. When asked about Yesh Atid chairman Yair
Lapid, Netanyahu said that there were “no limits” for him.
prime minister’s words on Sunday morning, Yacimovich said Netanyahu did not
present a vision or bring hope for the future, but rather a political message of
“It is not a coincidence that Netanyahu is ignoring the reason for
the early election – the draconian budget [yet to be drafted for 2013] that will
bring a social hell,” she said.
“It is clear that this is a reaction that
comes from panic over the fact that Labor re-started the election campaign and
is the clear alternative for voters.”
The Labor leader added, however,
Lapid and Livni must commit, as she did, not to join a Netanyahu-led coalition,
so that the public would believe there was an alternative and
Yacimovich added that in democratic countries, “candidates run in
elections and kings are not crowned. The prime minister has trouble getting used
to this reality, and we plan to do what is done in democratic countries – try to
replace the government.”
The Tzipi Livni Party also accused the prime
minister of panicking, pointing to Likud Beytenu’s dropping poll
“Netanyahu understands that Livni’s initiative to unite the
[Center-Left] bloc will lead to him being replaced,” the party said. “Netanyahu
is continuing to try to scare citizens of Israel and talking about threats,
which the heads of security forces say he is not fit to deal
“Israel needs balanced leadership that takes the initiative and
does not sweat and make decisions over a glass of alcohol and cigars,” The Tzipi
Livni Party said in reference to recent comments by former Shin Bet leader Yuval Diskin.
Also on Sunday, Yisrael Beytenu
denied reports that the party plans to break off from the Likud immediately
after the election, saying the agreement signed by the two parties calls for
decisions about their status to be made a month later.
“The Likud and
Yisrael Beytenu are running for the Knesset together and will cooperate during
the coming term. No union will be taken apart,” a Yisrael Beytenu spokesman
He added that that after two of the parties originally making up
the Likud, Herut and The Liberal Party, formed a joint list called Gahal in
1965, they continued to work independently until they were fully
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman called for voters to
keep Likud Beytenu strong, in order to avoid an “Oslo III” agreement from being
reached. The former foreign minister told Israel Radio, however, he supports the
idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state as described by Netanyahu in his
speech at Bar-Ilan University in 2009.
At the same time, Liberman
repeated his statement that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not
a partner for peace, adding: “It takes two to tango, and we can’t force the
Palestinians to change their leadership, but we have patience. We need to
explain to the world that if someone is refusing peace, it is
Meanwhile, Likud Beytenu petitioned the Central Elections
Committee to investigate Labor’s and Meretz’s use of performing artists at their
campaign events. The singer Efrat Gosh participated in a Labor event that was
broadcast on television, and several performing artists, including singer Rona
Keinan and actress Renana Raz, performed at a Meretz event.
Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein asked
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to investigate popular singer Sarit Haddad’s
performance at a Likud Beytenu event, saying it was illegal.
Beytenu also admitted to the committee on Sunday that it funded anonymous ads
attacking the Bayit Yehudi Party, featuring rabbis connected to the Tekuma
party, following a complaint by the Bayit Yehudi.