Netanyahu and Bennett.
(photo credit: REUTERS,MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett expressed concern over the weekend that the Left could win the March 17 election if voters on the Right do not “wake up.”
Netanyahu wrote on Facebook Saturday night that “the danger of the election is the formation of a left-wing government led by Tzipi [Livni] and Buji [Isaac Herzog] with the support of the Arab party [Joint (Arab) List].” He wrote that only a government he leads can “stand up to international pressure, prevent the evacuation of Judea and Samaria and keep Jerusalem undivided and united forever.”
The Likud released a video Saturday night that showed Netanyahu unwilling to give up Jerusalem in a game of monopoly.
Bennett, meanwhile, warned in a letter on Facebook that was shared by more than 2,000 people that if the Right does not form the next government, the Left would make concessions that would lead to rockets on Netanya and terror tunnels to Shoham from former settlements that would become part of a Palestinian state.
“We must wake up the public in order to prevent a disaster for Israel,” Bennett wrote. “In the next two years, unprecedented pressure will be brought to bear on Israel to give up Judea and Samaria to the Arabs and to establish a Palestinian state there. Without a strong Bayit Yehudi in parliament, this disaster will happen. Nobody will be there to stop it.”
Bennett wrote that US President Barack Obama’s administration and the European Union are waiting until after the election to pressure Israel to give up land.
Likud officials said Obama’s plans to utilize the final 20 months of his term in office to push through a major diplomatic initiative in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere, which were revealed Friday in Ha’aretz, should emphasize to undecided right-wing voters the need for a large Likud to prevent Zionist Union leaders Herzog and Livni from becoming prime minister.
“[Herzog and Livni] are unfit,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel Hayom Friday. “They will not be able to withstand the pressure even for a day. They will not be able to withstand the pressure of the nuclearization of Iran. They have said that immediately after their election, they would go to Ramallah and I know what will happen there: They will offer to form a state that would divide Jerusalem and take over the suburbs of Tel Aviv.”
Netanyahu warned in the interview that millions of shekels are being raised abroad in an effort to increase voter turnout among Arabs and leftwing voters in the election. He said the goal of contributors to the effort is to help the Joint (Arab) List win 16 seats and enable the formation of a left-wing government.
The prime minister intends to become more politically active over the last 10 days of the campaign. He spoke at a parlor meeting Saturday night at the home of Holon Likud branch head Shabtai Yosef, and will speak Sunday at an event in honor of International Women’s Day at which his wife, Sara, will make a rare public address.
Likud strategists said Netanyahu would go to events every night, “because that’s what you do the last week of a campaign.”
The Zionist Union on Sunday will reveal key elements of its platform at a press conference by Herzog and Livni. The party will run a new campaign attacking Yesh Atid under the slogan “A vote for Lapid is a vote for Bibi – Don’t repeat the mistake of 2013.”
The slogan is aimed at taking votes away from Yesh Atid, which has risen consistently in the polls over the last several weeks.
Lapid said at an event in Ramat Gan Saturday that there are now three political blocs in Israel – Right, Left and Center, and that the Center is the largest of the three because it could take votes away from both of the other two.
“The only surprise in the election can come from the Center,” he said.
“Yesh Atid is the largest party in the Center.”