Photo: Tal Shahar
The dream. Livni
Photo: Tal Shahar
The challenges. Netanyahu
Photo: AP
The truth. Barak
Photo: Reuters
The vision. Lieberman
Photo: AP

Parties plea: We need your vote

Experience, vision, responsibility, determination – leaders of four major parties explain why they deserve your vote

With one of the closest election campaigns in recent years nearing its end, the heads of Israel's four largest parties make one last effort to convince the voting public.


Every ballot counts, they say, as each explains why they are the ones to vote for.


'My dream is your dream'

"Today, you will be voting for your future – for our future. Voting for our country's values and its image. My dream is your dream," says Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni.


"I offer the people of Israel a leadership that has a vision and moral principles. I can differentiate between right and wrong. I have an internal compass and I am committed to this county, which is our national home.


"I am well aware of the importance of this moment, this office and this challenge, and I am committed to giving my children and yours all that is beautiful and just, all that Israel has to offer.


"Over the past few months I have met people who have given up, who have lost faith in their selectmen. I've also met hopeful people, who asked me not to give in and entrusted me with their future. Such encounters task me with even more responsibility – to realize the hope in the toughest position there is.


"The State of Israel is a complex one. A mosaic of people, beliefs and opinions, it is a nation still fighting for its existence, while it fights for its essence and values.


"We are a hopeful, humanist people who share a vision. We have never surrendered to our enemies and I have no intention of allowing elements from within to use our fears in order to divide us and strip us of our hope.


"This office represents a grand responsibility, more than is does my heart's desire. Each and every one of you can easily share in this hope by voting. It is so close and it is entirely up to us."


'Time for a clear-cut decision'

"The main question you have to ask yourselves today is who is the person you would like to see lead this country in the next few years, and what path should we take in view of the complex challenges we face in matters of security, the economy and education," says Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu.


"In 1996 I was named the prime minister of a terror-stricken nation, where people dreaded taking the bus or visiting a shopping mall. The following three years were the only time we saw terror attacks drop to a virtual nothing.


"As finance minister in 2003, I was tasked with resuscitating a failed economy, with double-digit unemployment rates and with tumbling pension funds. The financial reforms we set in motion back then are the reason why, despite the global financial crisis, Israel's economy is holding out.


"The next few years will force us to deal with major, unprecedented challenges, both financially and security-wise, and we must face them with gumption and composure. We will also have to instate wide-scale reform in our education system, which is failing as well.


"The task in enormous. The challenges – formidable. In order to overcome it all the prime minister needs his party to enjoy the public's trust. Israel cannot afford redundant internal conflicts and a leadership resembling a cart being pulled in all directions by its horses.


"Those who want to see me take the reins of office will vote for the Likud. Pure and simple. This important moment, when each and every one of you is held responsible for the fate of this country, is not the time for spilt decisions. This is the time for a clear-cut, decisive vote. You are voting for the man and for the team. The person and the path.


"The Likud is my team, our paths are one. Don’t be tempted to separate the two."


'The moment of truth has arrived'

"This is the moment of truth. This is the time for true leadership and a steady hand. This is the time to meet threats with a clutched fist, but remember to hold out our hand in peace," says Labor Chairman Ehud Barak.


"Security issues are sure to be our main focus in the next few years. Iran, Hizbullah, Syria and Hamas are still plotting and scheming against us. We need someone who knows how to deal with this and make real-time decisions – determined, discretionary, responsible decisions.


"Security, however, is not just military-based. We are in the midst of a financial crisis and we need a leadership that can form a strong economy and a strong society. A leadership that will fight crime and reinforce education and culture. Labor sports the best team possible to tackle these issues. Look at us and look at the other parties – we are hardly of the same caliber.


"Today, Labor alone stands across from the Right. Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu are clear derivatives of the Likud. Israel deserves true leadership; the steady, reliable anchor which is the Labor party.


"I urge you to vote according to your conscious and not according to the latest media spin. There is a last-minute attempt to have you believe that all there is left to do is decide between my rivals - Tzipi Livni and Benjamin Netanyahu – but that is a mistake! The fight is between the blocs and every vote not cast in our favor hinders our ability to be an influential force after the elections.


"Those who wish to see me as defense minister once more must realize that for that to happen, Labor must be strong. Those who wish to see us lead the opposition must realize the same. This is the moment of truth."


'Enough is enough'

"A lot of people ask me – 'What is your secret? How is it that you become stronger from one election to the next? How is it that your campaign has such massive public appeal?' That is because Yisrael Beiteinu is more than just a political party. It is a popular, national movement which has been saying the same thing for years - enough is enough," says Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman.


"Enough of the old leadership that says one thing and means another. Enough of the kind of leadership that would rather procrastinate and leave things for the next generation to deal with, instead of making forceful decisions. Enough of the kind of leadership that simply accepts the repeated calls for the annihilation of the Zionist enterprise.


"The challenges Israel faces are increasingly harder, but instead of meeting them head-on and making the appropriate decisions, we would rather ignore them or learn to live with them. Some problems you can live with. Others you can only die from.


"Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas are problems hard to ignore; but the subject of national disloyalty from within in just as much a threat to Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state. Yisrael Beiteinu chooses not to ignore the problem. We say enough is enough.


"Enough to awarding pension and benefit payments to those openly calling for Israel's destruction. Enough to the leniency on those not serving their country, be it in the military or via National Service, but still expect the country to serve them. Enough to citizens who enjoy all available privileges but share none of the burden.


"Yisrael Beiteinu will keep growing and not by chance. We do not go back and forth and we do not fold. Yisrael Beiteinu has a strong voice and a clear vision of tomorrow. More and more Israelis join us every day and they all have one thing in common. They all say 'enough is enough.' They all say that without loyalty there is no citizenship!"


פרסום ראשון: 02.10.09, 14:01
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