Netanyahu warns right-wing victory not ‘in the bag’ in settler campaign stop
Netanyahu warns right-wing victory not in bag in settler campaign stop
(photo credit: SARIA DIAMENT)
“Don’t stay at home as if it [voting] doesn’t matter,” Netanyahu said, adding that, “it does matter.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned that a right-wing victory is not assured in Tuesday’s election as he sought a necessary two additional mandates with a campaign stop in the Revava settlement less than 24 hours to go before the polls open.
“Bring people to the polls to vote so we can win,” Netanyahu said. “Do this with all your might,” he added.
The media has predicted that victory “is in the bag” for the Likud and that “we have won” in an attempt to lull voters into apathy, Netanyahu said.
Victory “is not in the bag,” he said, but is rather something that is “just within reach.”
“Don’t stay at home as if it [voting] doesn’t matter,” Netanyahu said, adding that “it does matter.”
Polls have predicted that Netanyahu’s Likud Party will garner the most votes on Tuesday, easily beating out all his rivals, with Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid Party expected to come in second.
The two top vote-getters are given an immediate chance to form a government, and only after they both fail is there a small window for another candidate to attempt to muster the necessary 61-member coalition.
At issue for Netanyahu in this election, as in all the others where he has come in first, is his ability to form a coalition. In the final days, he has hammered home the message that a large Likud would make a right-wing government under his leadership more feasible.
In recent days, Netanyahu has spoken of the necessary two additional mandates to ensue such a coalition. He has tried to bolster his support in, among other places, the settlements, not only to shore up his own votes but also to pilfer support from other parties.
Revava in the last election was a stronghold of one of Netanyahu’s right-wing rivals, Yamina Party head Naftali Bennett, who garnered support from 73% of the voters there. The Likud received 18% of the vote there.
Netanyahu told the audience in Revava, located in the Samaria region of the West Bank, that in reality, there are some 70 mandates for right-wing parties. But there is an attempt to ensure that the power on the Right is splintered into small parties, some of which would attempt to form a coalition with Lapid, he said.
At issue, in particular, are right-wing rivals Bennett and New Hope Party head Gideon Sa’ar, who have imagined that they can create a government that does not include Lapid, Netanyahu said.
It’s not possible to do this “without Lapid,” he said. “He will have 20 or more mandates.”
Those on the Right who don’t want Lapid in the government should vote Likud because only the Likud under his leadership could avoid such a scenario, Netanyahu said.
Nor can a government be formed with Lapid, he said. A coalition with Lapid as well as Bennett, Sa’ar and the heads of the left-wing parties of Labor, led by Merav Michaeli, and Meretz, led by Nitzan Horowitz, can’t last, Netanyahu said.
HE BLAMED the problems of the last government on the fact that he had lacked the necessary 61 votes for a right-wing government and as such had created a rotation arrangement with Alternative Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Netanyahu cited his attempt to have the government declare its intention to legalize the West Bank settler outposts in December and January, which was thwarted by Gantz.
There was support for legalization, but there was a “rotation,” and as a result, there were objections, Netanyahu said.
But with a strong right-wing government it would be possible to legalize the outpost and strengthen the settlements, he said.
Netanyahu also touted his other successes, including the vaccination program, as a result of which over half the country has already been inoculated against COVID-19.
Now he plans to be “obsessive,” Netanyahu said about ensuring that Israel’s economy recovers and strengthens.
Then he cited his success in making peace without giving up territory and uprooting settlements. This “peace for peace,” as he called it, included finalizing four normalization deals with Arab nations.
Netanyahu repeated his pledge that should he be victorious, he would finalize four more deals.
While in Revava, Netanyahu inaugurated a new neighborhood named for terrorism victim Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, 47, of the Eli settlement, who was killed during a terrorist attack at the nearby Ariel junction in 2018 while attempting to save lives.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said the neighborhood would house 40 families. Dagan, who in the past has protested against Netanyahu’s settlement policies, stood with him at the event and thanked him for his support for settlement development, including his authorizing a small number of outposts on a case-by-case basis.
“We thank you for your wonderful assistance,” Dagan said.
But he called on Netanyahu to authorize all the outposts, which he referred to as the young settlements, and to apply sovereignty to the settlements.
Yesha Council head David Elhayani has not forgiven Netanyahu for failing to make good on his pledge to annex the settlements and has thrown his support behind Sa’ar.
But in Revava, Dagan told Netanyahu: “We love you and support you.” He mentioned the promises the prime minister had made and kept, such as investments in infrastructure and roads.
Dagan pledged to help bring voters to the polls on Netanyahu’s behalf, adding that it would be a “mission” to ensure that his support there grew.