Livni: Elections battle close
Barak: We will hit Gaza hard
Netanyahu vows to destroy Hamas
The three candidates for premiership, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak, and Benjamin Netanyahu, made attempts at snagging more votes Tuesday as the February 10 elections draw nearer.
The three focused on defense issues in order to draw in voters. Livni met with a number of military officials who expressed their support for her, while Barak declared that he had dealt with the rocket threat to the south. Netanyahu visited Ashkelon and promised residents that he would destroy Hamas.
A number of current and former military officials announced their support for Livni Tuesday, including former Air Force Commander Eitan Ben Eliyahu and Generals Yoram Yair and Gideon Sheffer. Former Mossad Director Ephraim Halevy was also present at the meeting, but was not explicit in his support for the Kadima chairwoman.
Livni said earlier that this year's elections battle is a close one, and that every vote counts. "The choice is between a government with a centrist reference point, and a Likud-Shas government starting from an extreme point," she said. "The same mistake should not be made twice," she added.
Meanwhile the Labor chairman attempted to persuade hesitant voters by phone, stressing that he was the only leader who had eradicated the threat of rockets from the south.
"Until I came along, nothing happened. For eight years rockets fell, for three governments, and only we brought calm. If we are required to strike Gaza again we will, and even harder," he said.
Netanyahu, for his part, visited the area in which a Grad rocket fell Tuesday morning in Ashkelon. "Tzipi Livni and Kadima's people scorned the rocket forecasts," he said. "A government under my leadership will destroy Hamas' regime in Gaza and bring the rocket fire to an end."