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Are you an undecided voter? Let me suggest that there are four major reasons to vote for Likud rather than a small party.
First, if you want to make sure that Binyamin Netanyahu is our next prime minister, and not Tzipi Livni or Ehud Barak, it is important to vote directly for Likud. Some think they can vote for a small party that will then join a Netanyahu-Likud led coalition. But there are dangers to this approach.
There is the real possibility that some of the small parties running in this election may not pass the 2 percent election threshold. If you vote for a party that does not pass the threshold, your vote will be lost and this will weaken the center-right block. We must make sure that Likud receives enough seats so that President Shimon Peres has no other option but to ask Netanyahu, as the leader of the largest party, to form the next government.
Second, the policies of small parties don't receive the same scrutiny as a major party such as Likud. Take, for example, Israel Beiteinu, the party which propped up the Olmert-Livni government after the failed Second Lebanon War, and which calls for permanently dividing Jerusalem into Jewish and Arab sections and for abandoning large sections of the Galilee to a Palestinian state. These are positions that voters would never tolerate from a major center-right party.
In contrast, Netanyahu and Likud recognize the fallacies of past policies of appeasement and unilateral negotiations and can refocus Israel's agenda to best assure our national security. Likud believes that there are clear red lines that must never be crossed.
These red lines include: preserve Jerusalem as the united eternal capital of Israel; keep the Golan Heights under Israeli sovereignty; maintain realistic defensible borders - no return to the pre-1967 lines; no unilateral withdrawals that will turn over territory to terrorists; and mobilize world support against a potentially nuclear Iran and its proxies - Hizbullah and Hamas.
THIRD, LIKUD is best able to bring Western-style stability to the local scene. As Western immigrants, we often criticize the splintered political consensus, the horse-trading needed to sustain fractured coalitions and the paralysis that makes our governments unable to deal with the items that should top our national agenda.
As the country stands on the brink of a pivotal election, creating stability means ensuring that the largest party receives a sizable mandate from the electorate, enabling it to implement its policies and govern effectively. If Likud receives a large enough mandate on February 10 we can prevent the instability that has typified recent governments, which on average have lasted for only two and a half years.
Fourth, only Likud has the experience, talent and depth throughout its entire Knesset list to best confront the challenges ahead. Some small parties may have attractive names at the top of their list, but beyond one or two prominent individuals the party is an unknown. Take a look at the talent and experience of the entire Likud list before making your choice.
MANY WHO tried the small party route have recognized that that it is better to join forces with Likud, a broad-shouldered party with a long tradition of Zionist values and experience in leading the nation. Moshe "Boogie" Ya'alon, Bennie Begin and Effi Eitam, to name just a few, are now a part of Likud.
Our world is mired in an economic crisis unprecedented in scope. While there can be no isolating our country from its impact, Netanyahu as finance minister demonstrated a profound grasp of economic issues and saved the country from economic collapse. As prime minister he will be in a position to minimize the damage with a sound, strategic approach. Israel continues to experience growing pains in many other aspects of our society - for example water and the environment, crime, the need for electoral reform - all of which will need to be addressed by a strong, cohesive government following this election.
For a stable, experienced government that truly represents our interests and those of our nation, the choice is clear.
The writer is the national director of Likud Anglos (www.en.netanyahu.org.il), the English-language division of Likud.
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