Netanyahu: Likud will top 40 seats next time

PM addresses Likud members in Tel Aviv, says 'witch-hunt' against him won't stop party from gaining seats. Polls suggest he may be right.

Yoni Kempinski,

Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed supporters at a Likud party gathering on Thursday, where he expressed confidence that despite allegations of corruption, the party would gain seats in the next election.

In 2015, the Likud defied expectations, winning 30 seats – the most the party had netted since 2003. Since then, however, most polls over the past three years have shown the party losing seats.

Last month, police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges in connection with the Case 1000 investigation – regarding claims he received gifts from a Hollywood billionaire and Australian businessman in exchange for political favor; and Case 2000, in which police say Netanyahu offered to advance legislation to the benefit of a newspaper in exchange for more favorable coverage.

Netanyahu, for his part has denied the charges, calling the two investigations against him a “witch-hunt”.

Following the recommendation to indict, polling for the Likud has improved, with the party averaging between 32 to 33 seats in all polls taken this month.

On Thursday, Netanyahu addressed a Likud gathering in Tel Aviv, predicting that the party would top 40 seats in the next Knesset.

“The Likud is the largest, strongest party in the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“Last time [2015], I said [we’d win] 30 mandates. This time it’s going to be 40 mandates. Or maybe even more.”

Turning to the police investigations, Netanyahu called the investigations against him a witch-hunt with a clear political agenda.

“Lots of people have heard about how the media is working against us, and people feel like the fix is in on this, it’s a real witch-hunt. They [the media] knows that they can’t beat us at the ballot box, so some people want to put constant pressure… to defeat us by other means.”