Three months ahead of the 2015 elections and the campaign still focuses on socio-economic issues, despite rising tensions on the Gaza border. Likud MKs admitted Sunday that their party hasn't done enough on these issues over the past 6 years it has been in power.
"We couldn't really govern because we had few mandates," MK Gila Gamliel told Ynet. "In the previous government we've done nice things, but in the last coalition we couldn't keep the social portfolios. The issue of the cost of living was in the hands of Economy Minister Naftali Bennett."
MK Danny Danon was much more decisive than his fellow MK, saying "the Likud forgot about the social issue."
He pointed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's critical mistake of appointing Yair Lapid as finance minister. "We have to tell the voters the truth. We left the social portfolios in the hands of an apathetic finance minister. We at the Likud forgot about social sensibilities."
After six years at the prime minister's office, Netanyahu chose now - three months ahead of elections - to back legislation to raise minimum wage to NIS 5,000 ($1,274) a month, a decision made earlier this month by the Histadrut workers union and the Manufacturers Association of Israel.
In 2010, Netanyahu objected to MK Amir Peretz's bill proposal to raise minimum wage to NIS 4,600 ($1,172) a month. However, in the wake of the summer 2011 social protest, he caved into public pressures and announced a list of moves, including raising the minimum wage to NIS 4,300 ($1,095) a month.
Despite having the reins for six years, MK Miri Regev insisted the responsibility for the current dire socio-economic state falls on others. "With all due respect, all of those who were selling us delusions and promises about the cost of living - didn't do anything. These were misrepresentations. The only party that managed to do things on these issues was Likud - like the cellphone revolution, putting an end to water corporations and more - but Likud needs to do more."
So why is the public feeling like Likud neglected them?
"Because they want more, and they're right," Regev said.
Chairman of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, MK Haim Katz, said the negative public opinion of the Likud's actions in the socio-economic area is a result of lacking media coverage. "In the past five and a half years the committee passed 179 social laws and touched upon countless of economic and social issues," he said.
"We did a lot that wasn't covered by the media. The Iranian bomb is more interesting, after all. There are four times as many MRI scanners in Israel, children get free dental treatments. All of that wasn't covered. I expect Likud to take back the social portfolios: The health portfolio, the welfare portfolio, the economy portfolio. It's time to reach people. Not talk on the macro level, but reach them on the micro level."
Uri Farej, the head of the Likud Petah Tikva branch, who is running for a spot on the party's Knesset list, said: "I think Likud hasn't been socially-orientated enough. Attainable housing for young couples is the bread and butter of today. Why didn't this happen? I don't think there's a disconnect between the Likud and the public, but every time a new niche party is formed and takes the votes away from Likud. We can't say we didn't do anything, but we didn't do enough. People feel it on social issues. We sort of forgot the periphery, where we draw our power. We need to put the focus on these issues in the coming elections. That's why I come from the neighborhoods."
Moran Azulay contributed to this report.