Naftali Bennett speaking in Eli
Naftali Bennett speaking in EliPhoto: PR

Just like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did several weeks ago, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett visited the Eli Pre-Military Academy on Wednesday – and he, too, had a message for students and visitors.

Unlike Netanyahu's message, Bennett's did not encourage listeners to vote for the Likud in order to ensure that he, and not Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Herzog, formed the next government – which, he implied, would of course include Jewish Home – Bennett said that rightwing voters had been down that road already – and would not be taken for “suckers” again.

“We voted for Likud once before, and they gave away Hevron,” Bennett said, referring to the 1998 Wye River Agreement which gave the Palestinian Authority control over most of that city.

“We voted for Likud again and we got the disengagement,” as Ariel Sharon did not call new elections before throwing 10,000 Jews out of Gaza and northern Samaria.

“We voted for Likud yet again, and we got a speech at Bar-Ilan University,” in which Netanyahu said that he was committed to establishing a Palestinian state.

As the Likud – and Netanyahu as its leader – could not be counted on, Bennett told voters, the choice for them is clear – strengthening Jewish Home. “We need to be there in order to prevent things like this,” he said.

On his visit to Eli earlier in February, Netanyahu said that the only way to ensure a right-wing government was to vote for the Likud. ““It's either the Likud or the left and Labor, or by whatever name they call themselves now,” he said, referring to Labor-Hatnua's adoption of the term "Zionist camp."

Voters needed to be realistic about the party on the right that they voted for, he said. “You have to go with the party that can reach higher,” said Netanyahu. “It's not about strengthening the right-wing bloc, but about the size of the party. That will determine who forms the next government.”