Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Reuters
Labor's Shelly Yachimovich
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Yesh Atid's Yair Lapid
Photo: Benny Deutsch
Shas Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Sodavideo
Hatnua's Tzipi Livni
Photo: Sodavideo

Knesset race: Parties fight for swing votes

As Election Day nears, parties left and right make last ditch efforts to attract undecided voters. Habayit Hayehudi eyes Russian public while Meretz courts women

Field days, phone calls, ads, posters, social networks, house meetings and mass conventions – three days before Election Day, political parties are making a last ditch effort to draw in voters.


All parties, left and right, are operating under the same assumption: Many potential voters are still undecided and may provide them with the much coveted extra Knesset seats. They will spend the next couple of days prior to the elections trying to secure their votes. 


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Attempting to reverse the drop in the polls, the Likud-Beiteinu campaign has decided to focus its efforts  on an "alarming" message: Benjamin Netanyahu's victory is not guaranteed and the Left may still succeed in forming a government with Shas.


Nearly all party representatives warned against voting for other parties in the Right – especially Habayit Hayehudi. "A Likud government isn't a given," said MK Ofir Akunis. "If, as the polls predict, we'll get only 32 Knesset seats there's a chance the 1992 scenario will repeat itself and the Left will form a unified bloc and will form the next government."


נתניהו על הקו (צילום: ירון ברנר)

Netayahu on the line (Photo: Yaron Brener)


Attacks on Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett also intensified, with Bennett referred to as a "fake" by MK Danny Danon. "Israel's loyalists should vote Likud and not for gimmicks courtesy of the Bennett production line," he said.


"If the national bloc will not vote for Likud, the next Israeli government will look like a Turkish bazaar."


The prime minister will meet Saturday with United States congressmen, and on Sunday will tour Jerusalem in an appeal to rightist voters.



The Labor party's final stretch will concentrate on swing votes and those planning to vote for parties which are unlikely to pass the election threshold.


יחימוביץ' לפני הישורת האחרונה (צילום: עידו ארז)

Yachimovich's final stretch (Photo: Ido Erez)


Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich plans to convince "those planning to waste their vote on parties which will not pass the election threshold, but still manage to create an illusion as if they will. It's not true, they will not pass and their votes are votes for Netanyahu."


Habayit Hayehudi

The last days before polls open will be used by Habayit Hayehudi to try and lure in additional untapped audiences. The "Brothers and sisters, come home" campaign, aimed at young voters, will be launched online and on billboards.


התשובה של בנט (צילום: עידו ארז)

Bennett's reply (Photo: Ido Erez)


In addition, the party will attempt to cash in on disillusioned Yisrael Beiteinu voters, focusing on Russian swing votes.


A designated campaign was recently posted online together with Bennett's political plan, translated into Russian.


Yesh Atid

The party will spend the remaining days prior to Elections Day on luring swing votes through "new media" and the social networks.


לפיד מתאמן (צילום: בני דויטש)

Lapid in training (Photo: Benny Deutsch)


"There's a significant number of voters still on the fence and we believe we know how to reach them," a party official said.


"Many of them will only decide at the ballot box and our aim in to be in contact with them until the very last moment."



As the Sabbath ends, the three Shas leaders will engage in intense activities lasting until Elections Day, dividing the responsibilities between them:


דרעי חוגג יום הולדת לנכדו (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

Deri celebrating grandson's birthday (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


Aryeh Deri will attend conventions and direct activities from the party's headquarters; Ariel Attias will be in charge of media communications; and Eli Yishai will run logistics, directing voters to the polling stations.


On Election Day the three will gather at Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's house for Deri strongman Yosef Chaim Chlaf's son circumcision, heading later to their own respective polling stations to cast their vote.



The party will emphasize its peace plan and Tzipi Livni's hopes for the peace process.


לבני מסיירת בתל אביב (Sodavideo )

Livni touring Tel Aviv (Photo: Sodavideo)


The chairwoman will also focus on the large undecided public, based on Hatnua's data signifying that more than half of them consider voting for Hatnua.



Days before the elections, Meretz is rejuvenated by polls forecasting 5-6 Knesset seats, and will attempt to keep its newfound momentum and perhaps even try to improve on it.


אנשי מרצ בתל אביב (צילום: עופר עמרם)

Meretz supporters and leaders in Tel Aviv (Photo: Ofer Amram)


The last campaign will be directed at female votes, based on poll data which points to a large percentage of undecided women voters.


Meretz will bring to the foreground the many women on its party list (50%) and the party's women-related legislation.


A viral campaign with the participation of celebrities and intellectuals will attempt to draw back former Meretz supporters, as part of the "Left re-awakening."



Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz will remain the center of the party's campaign.


מופז ורעייתו בשוק הפשפשים

Mofaz and his wife at a flea-market


A new campaign will showcase his strenghts vis-à-vis his rivals: "The journalist," "the one with the cigars and the whiskey" and "the aristocrat" – emphasizing Mofaz's image as a family man for whom education is a close concern.  


Kadima doesn't have high expectations, but some optimistic scenarios see the possibility of a return of former Kadima supporters, giving the party five Knesset seats.


Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondents Yuval Karni, Tzvika Brot, Moran Azulay, Akiva Novick, Roi Mandel and Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report




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פרסום ראשון: 01.19.13, 22:19
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