Netanyahu delivers a statement in Har Homa.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trailing in opinion polls, spoke in a Jerusalem neighborhood located beyond the Green Line he helped found as the backdrop on Monday for an election eve bid to win back right-wing votes.
His main challenger, Isaac Herzog, leader of the Zionist Union, said on Facebook that "Israel will be stuck with Bibi" unless voters turned out on Tuesday for the center-left alliance, which polls predict will take 24 to 26 seats in the 120-member parliament, compared with 20 to 22 for Likud.
Faced with the projected Zionist Union lead, Netanyahu has in the final days of the campaign ramped up appeals to disaffected supporters who have shifted their allegiance to smaller right-wing parties to "come home" to Likud.
"The choice is symbolic: the Likud led by me, that will continue to stand firmly for (Israel's) vital interests, compared with a left-wing government ... ready to accept any dictate," he said in a campaign speech at Har Homa.
Setting the tone for his three terms in office, Netanyahu promoted the establishment of Har Homa in 1997, in defiance of deep-seated international opposition, after he was first elected prime minister.
The neighborhood is on a hilltop located beyond the Green Line. Palestinians, who call the site Jabal Abu Ghneim, have long viewed Har Homa's construction as an attempt to tighten Israeli control around the holy city.
"I thought we had to protect the southern gateway to Jerusalem by building here," Netanyahu said, with a construction site behind the podium as his backdrop. "There was huge objection, because this neighborhood is in a location which prevents the Palestinian (territorial) contiguity."