Bibi speaking 298.88.
(photo credit: sasson tiram)
Incumbent Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu attacked his competition in Tuesday's Likud primary for the first time on Wednesday night, telling supporters in Kiryat Motzkin that the heads of Kadima and Labor want Moshe Feiglin to win the race.
Netanyahu had refrained until now from criticizing Feiglin and acknowledging third candidate Danny Danon. He has focused most of his public statements on criticizing his expected competition in the next general election, Labor chairman Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"If Olmert or Barak were asked who you should vote for, they would say 'vote Feiglin or stay home,'" Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu's campaign has become more worried recently that with an extremely low turnout, Zo Artzeinu co-founder Feiglin could end up winning more than 40 percent of the vote. A significant achievement for Feiglin could allow Barak and Kadima to portray the Likud as extremist.
But Feiglin's associates said that if Netanyahu was so afraid of Feiglin staining the Likud, he should leave the attacks on him to other parties and not add to them. They said that if Feiglin was the Likud's biggest burden, it would not make sense that Netanyahu brought the party only 12 mandates when Feiglin wasn't on its list for the Knesset.
"There is no doubt that Netanyahu is under pressure and he makes mistakes when he gets hysterical," Feiglin's spokesman said. "Netanyahu should be embracing Feiglin instead of enhancing his demonic image. This attack will come back at Netanyahu like a boomerang when Feiglin gets a surprising percentage of the vote."
An internal Likud court was expected to decide on Friday whether to block Feiglin from running in the race. The petition to the court, which was the fifth in two weeks, was filed by supporters of Netanyahu, but his campaign denied any connection to them.
Danon, who has been given no more than 3% in the polls, acknowledged on Thursday that he would not win the race.
"I did not run in order to beat Bibi but in order to raise important ideological issues," Danon said.