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Photo: EPA
Netanyahu during a campaign rally in Migdal HaEmek

Politicians put pedal to metal on eve of elections

Analysis: With Likud and Blue & White trading blows and ultra-Orthodox and Arab parties making final pitch to undecided voters, the final four days of campaign season promise to be fast and frenetic

Moran Azulay |
Published: 02.26.20 , 16:58
With just four days to go until Israelis will head to the polls for an unprecedented third time in less than 12 months, the country's politicians are putting the pedal to the metal in a fight for votes that could end the current deadlock.
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  • Likud
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday instructed all party functionaries to change the tone of the campaign and direct their efforts towards the "apathetic" right-wing voters whom they fear will not head to the polls next week, in a scheme titled "bring a friend to the polls."
    בנימין נתניהו בכנס הליכוד במגדל העמקבנימין נתניהו בכנס הליכוד במגדל העמק
    Netanyahu during a campaign rally in Migdal HaEmek
    (Photo: Elad Gershgorn )
    Blue & White chairman Benny Gantz and his awkward demeanor in interviews also became the subject of a campaign ad released by Likud few days ago, titled "What's wrong with Gantz?"
    Netanyahu has also prepared to target Itamar Ben-Gvir and his extreme-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) party to sway their voters from voting for a party that "won't pass the threshold" and in doing so would waste votes of the right-wing bloc.

    Blue & White

    בני גנץ בכנס של מפלגת כחול לבן ברמת גןבני גנץ בכנס של מפלגת כחול לבן ברמת גן
    Benny Gantz during a party rally in in Ramat Gan
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi )
    Party officials verify the latest polls that show a near tie between Blue & White and Likud, saying "it's a close battle, but much harder than we originally thought."
    Other party officials describe a sense of "emergency" within Blue & White, specifically regarding the Likud's latest campaign efforts, using the criminal investigation against a now bankrupt high-tech company once chaired by Gantz.
    The party's No. 3 Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday that the campaign was built on a lie but acknowledged that it appeared to be working.
    "It's not the polls, it's Netanyahu's lies," said Ya'alon.
    Blue & White's election efforts in the coming days will mainly focus on two issues: a media blitz to bring voters to that polls and to sway other center-left voters to their side.

    Joint List

    איימן עודה איימן עודה
    Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh
    (Photo: Avi Moalem)
    The party is set to blitz Arab media in the coming days, but also the Hebrew-language channels as well.
    The effort, according to pundits, is to achieve at least 14 Knesset seats.
    At the same time, the party's candidates will emphasize through public meetings and social media the importance of turning out at the ballot box and taking family and friends to raise the voting percentage within the Arab community, primarily in large cities and among female voters.
    The Joint List is also courting Jewish voters who are looking for a political home based on Jewish-Arab coexistence, aiming to win at least one seat due to support from Jewish voters.

    Labor-Gesher-Meretz

    עמיר פרץ אורלי לוי ניצן הורוביץ עמיר פרץ אורלי לוי ניצן הורוביץ
    L-R: Labor-Gesher-Meretz leaders Nitzan Horowitz, Amir Peretz and Orly Levy
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    In contrast to predictions by analysts, saying that the party would suffer from its new composition, Labor seems satisfied with its union with Gesher and Meretz, as most polls show a double-digit win in the elections.
    Aides to party leader Amir Peretz have also announced that an agreement with Blue & White has been reached over cooperation in a possible government led by Gantz.
    Labor's campaign in the coming days will mainly focus on the center-left bloc, rather than on a specific party.
    "The idea of one big unifying party is going to fail," said Peretz. "We already saw that in the September and April elections in 2019."

    Shas

     אריה דרעי אריה דרעי
    Shas party leader Aryah Dari
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    Party officials will meet on Wednesday in order to organize their field operatives for the final leg of the campaign season.
    The Council of Torah Sages, the party's rabbinical leadership, will meet with the movement's spiritual leader Rabbi Shalom Cohen and other senior Sephardic rabbis to discuss strategy.

    United Torah Judaism

     יעקב ליצמן הערכת מצב נגיף קורונה משרד הבריאות יעקב ליצמן הערכת מצב נגיף קורונה משרד הבריאות
    United Torah Judaism co-leader Yaakov Litzman
    (Photo: EPA)
    In the September 2019 elections, United Torah Judaism saw a rise in almost 20,000 votes from the previous vote in April, but lost a Knesset seat and went down to seven lawmakers.
    The party's main objective now is to take back that eighth seat and is firing on all cylinders – from rallies for the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox community to a campaign targeting Arab and Druze voters.

    Yisrael Beytenu

    אביגדור ליברמן באולפן ynetאביגדור ליברמן באולפן ynet
    Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman
    (Photo: Avi Moalem)
    The party's focus ahead of the vote is its traditional voting bloc of immigrants from the former USSR, but also liberal voters.
    The party has made numerous efforts to demonize a possible government made up of Netanyahu's Likud and the ultra-Orthodox parties, which according to them will hurt secular and non-observant Jews.

    Yemina

    תמונה של נפתלי בנט תמונה של נפתלי בנט
    Yemina leader Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    To increase the number of voters who cast a ballot, the party has initiated a "Right Crowd" drive, in which an additional 1,000 or so volunteers have been recruited for the last leg of the campaign season, with plans to bring in 10 additional volunteers for everyone already working on Election Day itself.

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