At Pre-Election Rally, Netanyahu Blasts Livni/Herzog Stances on Jerusalem
JNS.org – At a rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square that was attended by tens of thousands of Israelis supporting the country’s right-wing political parties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—whose Likud party is trailing the Zionist Union alliance in polls ahead of Tuesday’s Knesset election—slammed his rivals’ positions on Jerusalem.
“Tzipi Livni, the Left’s hidden candidate for prime minister, condemned our decision to build in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said Sunday evening, addressing a crowd that according to one estimate totaled 30,000 people, Israel Hayom reported. “Buji (Isaac) Herzog said, ‘I see Jerusalem serving as two political capitals. In east Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state will be established.’ They are now trying to obscure and hide this. But this is their true position.”
Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party leader Naftali Bennett also spoke at the rally, which was titled “United for the Land of Israel.” Bennett said, “After the polls close, I will call the prime minister and tell him we together will present one nationalist camp to the president. Don’t worry—a large [rightist] bloc will defeat the Left.”
The new Israeli government will be established based on how many seats each party wins, and the president—Reuven Rivlin—will appoint the prime minister, who is usually the leader of the party that won the most Knesset seats. That party leader must then form a governing coalition with other parties, and the parties that are not included in the coalition become the “opposition.” As such, even after the votes are tallied on Israel’s election day, it is never immediately clear which parties will form the governing coalition. Netanyahu said at Sunday’s rally that Habayit Hayehudi “will be a senior partner in our government, no matter how many seats it receives.”
Herzog and Livni—the leaders of the Labor and Hatnuah parties, respectively—merged their parties in order to challenge Netanyahu and have said they will rotate the role of prime minister if they form the next government.
“There is a real danger that a leftist government will rise to power,” Netanyahu said. “The gap between the parties vying for the premiership could be what determines who forms the government. This is a tight battle, and we must close that gap.”