(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The deal between Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni by which they agreed to rotate as prime minister if they win the election is not an electoral burden, according to the results of 18 Zionist Union focus groups leaked Saturday night to The Jerusalem Post.
The Likud has begun a campaign to warn potential voters of the Center-Left that if they vote for Herzog they will be stuck with Livni. Last week the party released a video showing a customer upset when the pizza delivered to him by “Buji Pizza” came with a life-size cardboard cutout of Livni. Buji is a nickname for Herzog.
The Likud campaign was based on polls that found that Herzog is much more popular than Livni. But the Zionist Union focus groups found that undecided centrist voters see Labor’s unity deal with Livni positively, as two leaders cooperating, complementing each other, and sublimating their egos for the greater good.
After the Likud used the pizza clip to try to shift Zionist Union voters to other parties on the Center-Left, the Zionist Union released a video Saturday night that is intended to shift voters from the Likud to Bayit Yehudi.
The video shows tunnels from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, saying that Hamas dug 34 tunnels and Netanyahu was aware of them but did nothing about them.
The clip ends with the slogan: “Nine years of nothing. You failed. Go home.”
A Zionist Union spokeswoman said the goal of the ad was to erode Netanyahu’s image as “Mr. Security” and said more ads would continue that theme.
With their negative ads both the Likud and the Zionist Union are aiming to take votes away from the other.
Strategists for both parties know that very few voters are undecided between the Likud and the Zionist Union, so they are trying to shift voters from their rival to other parties in their rival’s political bloc.
The Likud and Zionist Union strategies are intended to make their party the largest ahead of a decision by President Reuven Rivlin on who should form the next government after the March 17 election.
As it has on Saturday nights for the last several weeks, the Likud released a new video clip. It says that Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion defied the US State Department by declaring the state in 1948.
“Would we be here today if Ben-Gurion did not do the right thing?” the clip asks in a reference to Netanyahu’s controversial decision to speak to Congress next week despite the opposition of US president Barack Obama’s administration.
Herzog accused Netanyahu of scare tactics Saturday, saying “I don’t remember Ben-Gurion ever threaten the psychological state of his people this way.”
Koolanu released a video Saturday night that blamed former finance minister Yair Lapid for the housing crisis and helping the banking industry make billions as its former spokesman.
“Mistakes should not be repeated,” the ad concludes, reaching out to voters who cast ballots for Yesh Atid two years ago.
Lapid responded by telling Channel 10 that he respects Moshe Kahlon and that it was beneath the dignity of the Koolanu leader to make mudslinging videos that try to harm other parties.
A new clip by Meretz suggests that Zionist Union voters have to erase their memories to forget that Lapid, Labor, and Livni took left-wing votes and gave them to the Likud in 2009 and 2013.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said the Zionist Union platform “cowardly panders to the Right.”
Meanwhile, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett attacked the Likud on Channel 2, saying that if his party “will not be strong in the government, there will be a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria by 2017.”