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April 7, 2019 6:52 pm

In Final Election Stretch, Netanyahu Strikes Pessimistic Tone: ‘We’re Going to Lose’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he meets with US Vice President Mike Pence in Warsaw, Poland, Feb. 14, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Kacper Pempel / File.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued what local media referred to as a “gevalt campaign” on Sunday, as the last 48 hours before Tuesday’s elections wound down, cautioning his supporters that they must turn out to vote or his Likud party will be defeated.

“If we don’t change the trend — we’re going to lose,” he warned, striking a pessimistic tone apparently intended to give his voters a sense of motivation and urgency.

Recent polls have shown Netanyahu’s Likud party trailing its main challenger, the new Blue and White party. However, the right-religious bloc in the Knesset that will most likely recommend Netanyahu to form the next government remains larger than the center-left opposition.

According to Hebrew news site Mako, Netanyahu addressed this issue directly at a meeting of leaders of local authorities who support Likud on Sunday, warning, “President Rivlin said a simple thing: without 61 recommendations, the largest party wins and forms the government.”

“You must act immediately so that people will vote Likud,” he urged the audience.

Referring to a potential coalition formulation, Netanyahu said, “If we win, we will take all the right-wing parties,” but “what does one mandate more or less matter if we lose? We must wake the people up. We must wake them up to vote Likud.”

At a meeting with the press on Saturday, Netanyahu struck a similar note, pointing out that Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid “said something true — if there is a gap of four mandates between Likud and their party, and they are leading, there is no power in the world that will stop them from forming a government.”

“Therefore, since there is a gap like this, it must be understood what is happening, because it is not fictional — the only way to guarantee a right-wing government is to vote Likud,” he said.

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