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'Hi, it's Binyamin Netanyahu. No, it's not a prank'
By LAHAV HARKOV
01/17/2013
PM, Likud ministers call undecided voters to encourage them to vote Likud-Beytenu, just 5 days before national elections.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called incredulous, undecided voters on Thursday, in a last-ditch attempt to bring more votes to Likud Beytenu.

“This is Binyamin Netanyahu. No, it’s not a prank. I hope that you will vote for me next week,” the prime minister said on the phone, flanked by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan. “Bring your friends and family to vote.”

Netanyahu sat at the head of a table of Likud ministers and MKs, plus Yisrael Beytenu’s Yair Shamir, all of whom called undecided voters to convince them to vote for their parties’ joint list.

“As we near the finish line, we’re targeting those who haven’t decided who to vote for.

We’ll talk to them through the press, on the ground and now, personally, on the phone,” Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar explained as the telephone operation began in his party’s campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv.

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Each of the 15 Likud ministers and MKs received a list of undecided voters and which party other than Likud Beytenu he or she is considering.

“Hello, this is Ruby Rivlin. I hear you are undecided,” the Knesset Speaker said, and was told the person on the other side supports the Bayit Yehudi. Rivlin explained to him that a large Likud Beytenu is necessary to stand behind Netanyahu and his policies.

MK Miri Regev greeted a voter casually, saying “Ahalan,” while MK Ofir Akunis asked for back-up in the form of the prime minister.

“Want to talk to Prime Minister Netanyahu?” Akunis asked a voter, handing Netanyahu the phone as he entered the room.

Netanyahu addressed the press squeezed into the small conference room, describing what he would tell voters on the phone.

“I am calling for them to vote for Likud Beytenu and not waste their votes on sectorial parties,” he said.

“I’m saying what we will do if they give us power. We’ll reform housing and continue opening the market like we did for cellphones.”

The prime minister added that he will only be able to make those reforms happen if he is backed by a large ruling party.

“Most of the undecided voters I spoke to said they want me to be prime minister, so I told them: Then vote for my party. You can’t strengthen me while weakening my party,” he added.

As the ministers and MKs made calls, some seven protesters stood in the street holding signs reading “Bibi is good for the rich.”

The protesters banged on drums and chanted “the people demand social justice” into megaphones, and could be heard in the conference room on the fifth floor.

When reporters and photographers tried to open windows to see and hear the demonstration, they were stopped by security.
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