Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announces his departure, November 14, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The polls published recently indicating that Yisrael Beytenu will not cross the 3.25% electoral threshold are incorrect, party leader Avigdor Liberman said at a press conference at Yisrael Beytenu’s Jerusalem headquarters on Thursday.
Liberman said in past elections, polls consistently predicted his party’s support incorrectly. He also cited incorrect polls ahead of the last presidential election in the United States.
“If I believed in polls, I would have never run for Knesset, and we are celebrating 20 years of Yisrael Beytenu this weekend,” Liberman said. “Polls are an important tool, as long as they are not being used for political manipulation.”
Liberman cited a poll taken for Yisrael Beytenu by George Birnbaum, one of the world’s most respected international campaign strategists.
He said the comprehensive poll, which was taken over an extended period of time, indicated that his party would win seven to eight seats and the Right-Center bloc would win 70 seats.
“This is completely different than what all the press is saying here,” he said. “Polls taken for media on the Internet only reach a certain segment of the population, which tends to be younger. The media’s models are not representative.”
Yisrael Beytenu officials, including Liberman, declined requests from The Jerusalem Post
to receive the poll.
Liberman said he would not join a government led by Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz.
“Gantz is a very nice man, but his leadership of Operation Protective Edge was a complete failure, and it would be irresponsible to let him be prime minister with no political or civilian political experience,” Liberman said.
Yisrael Beytenu intends to demand the Defense, Interior and Immigrant and Absorption portfolios in coalition talks, he said. Liberman rejected the notion that not crossing the threshold would be a sign of the success of him and his party in integrating Russian-speaking immigrants.
“We are the only party that puts immigration first,” Liberman said. “The national interest is to bring another three million immigrants.”
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