Netanyahu after tonight's speech
Netanyahu after tonight's speechFlash 90

The Likud party officially launched its campaign for the 21st Knesset this evening. Before the speech, Netanyahu and his wife Sara shook hands with their competitor, Gideon Sa'ar.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told those gathered that perhaps more than 41 Likud MKs will be elected. "We must win because of our way and achievements," Netanyahu said. "Israel's power ranking and influence are due to our policies."

Netanyahu told the Likud gathering that Israel's high ranking as a world power is thanks to the connections he cultivated, saying it belied claims by the Left that Israel was isolated.

"Victory is not guaranteed, it's not in our pocket. The Knesset election will be difficult." He blamed the difficulty on what he called an unprecedented combination of the Left and the media. "The corruption cases will collapse after the election," he said.

"Only a big Likud will defeat the Left," the Prime Minister said, warning against Likud members voting out of the party or not voting in Knesset elections.

Using a rhyme, he said only a big Likud (Likud gadol in Hebrew) could defeat the Left (smol). "The media has been propaganda against me for four years," he said. Netanyahu invoked the phrase "either Bibi or [hostile Arab Member of Knesset Ahmed] Tibi", saying members of the Blue and White List won't sit with him, so that leaves Tibi.

"Gantz opposed the Sinai border barrier. Lapid-Gantz means Left, weakness, and capitulation. Lapid-Gantz would deny the benefits of natural gas."

Netanyahu said more tax cuts are on the way. "We've made unprecedented social investment."

He warned that if Lapid-Gantz succeed in blurring differences between the paths, the Left will win.

"We're Right and Lapid-Gantz are Left. With your help, we'll continue doing it our way."

Elections Committee Chairman Judge Chanan Meltzer said Netanyahu's speech would be broadcast on television with a 10-minute delay, and that in those minutes the broadcasting organization editors would review the speech as it happens and decide whether it is news or election propaganda. This, following a petition by the Labor Party.