Likud Kicks Off Campaign With Promises Galore
At the festive official opening of the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu campaign for the 19th Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emphasized his plans to continue building in Jerusalem. “I appeal to all Israelis – do not waste your vote,” Netanyahu told thousands of Likud members and supporters at the event. Vote the person you want to lead the country. Voting for small, sectorial parties does not strengthen Israel.”
In recent days, Likud officials have expressed concern over the party's losing seats to other, smaller parties – particularly the Bayit Yehudi, which has been experiencing an increase in support at the expense of the Likud, pollsters said. The Likud has targeted Bayit Yehudi over the past few days, and on Tuesday revealed that it would continue to try and convince voters to choose Netanyahu's Likud, in order to give the party the largest number of Knesset seats possible, and minimize the need to bring other parties into the government.
“We must have a flood of votes for the Likud as an answer to the storm surrounding us,” Netanyahu said, referring to the international criticism of his announcements on building plans in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu also emphasized other of his accomplishments, including a very sharp decrease in the number of illegal Africans sneaking into Israel, and the finalization of the decision to establish Ariel's institution of higher learning as a university. “That decision will ensure that Ariel will remain forever a part of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “If we had not stopped the illegal immigrants we would not have a state eventually. I said that we must first stop them from entering, and then we could remove the ones that are here already. This past month we had zero illegals entering the country from the southern border. Now we are removing the illegals that are already here. We are thus preserving the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Another party Netanyahu is concerned about is Shas, which has said that it would target the Likud in order to sway voters to support it. In a veiled criticism of Shas, Netanyahu said that he would appoint a Likud member as Housing Minister in his next government, wresting it away from Shas. “It will no longer be controlled by 'sectorial interests.' The Ministry is not providing equitable service right now, and this cannot continue. In the same way that we reduced the prices on cellphone service, we will reduce the cost of housing,” the Prime Minister continued.