The Kadima party wants to get more than half of the 120 Knesset seats in the upcoming elections, and has set out in a campaign to urge its supporters to show up at the polling stations in masses on March 28.
"Forty mandates are not enough. We must do whatever it takes to increase the party's majority," Kadima's number two Shimon Peres declared at a big elections rally the party held in the town of Nes Tziona Saturday. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, along with the rest of Kadima's leaders, joined in on the call on voters not to let the party down.
Hanegbi, Sheetrit and Peres. Worried (Photo: AFP)
What concerns Kadima most is voters' apathy and complacency, which they fear will leave people at home at the crucial moment. Senior party members fear that those voicing their support for Kadima in the polls will fail to do the same on Election Day.
Your support on the phone is not enough, Meir Sheetrit told attendees at the rally. Get out to the polling stations on Election Day and give us 50, and even 60 seats, Sheetrit said, adding that "61 seats will make all the difference."
Some 850 party activists attended Saturday's rally, and most of Kadima's top candidates were presents as well. Foreign journalists were also on the guest list, providing speakers with an opportunity to address the crowd in English, as well as Hebrew.
"The name of the game now is to translate the somewhat virtual lead shown in the polls to voters in the polling stations. This is the great battle, or else the efforts of the last 123 days may go down the drain," a Kadima senior member told Ynet at the end of the meeting.
Notably, Kadima's worries are also reflected in a recent renewed optimism Labor leaders are expressing. Knesset Member Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who has voiced slight pessimism in the past, now sounds more confident than ever.
"I am certain we will see a big surprise on Election Day, and that the results will be different than what the polls predict," Ben Eliezer said. According to him, in his tours around the country he has encountered sympathy and empathy toward Labor.
"I base my intuitions on meetings with the public and the various sectors…in places where it wasn't even worth our while to try and convince people in the past, we are now being received differently. I have seen a dramatic change in the last two weeks," he stated.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report