Likud is losing, warns Netanyahu

The ruling Likud party is losing the election, Netanyahu warns.

In a press statement uploaded to his Facebook page — electioneering is forbidden in Israel’s formal media outlets on Election Day — Netanyahu paints a dire picture meant to mobilize right-wing voters to the polls.

“We’re in a fateful campaign. There is still a meaningful gap between Labor and Likud. The only way to shrink the gap is to go to the ballot box and vote ‘Mahal,'” Netanyahu says, a reference to the letter-based symbols on Likud’s election slip.

Netanyahu blames foreign government and left-wing NGOs for the left’s improved showing in this election.

“The gap between Labor and Likud is based primarily on foreign funds that flow in vast quantities to leftist NGOs. Its purpose is to replace a Likud government headed by me with a left government supported by the Arab list,” he says

Ayman Odeh, chair of the Arab Joint List, figures large in Netanyahu’s warning to the right.

“Ayman Odeh, who supports [Zionist Union leader Isaac] Herzog, has already said not only that I must be replaced, but that I should be put in prison for defending the citizens of Israel and the lives of IDF soldiers [during last summer’s Gaza war]…. A left government that depends on such a list will surrender at every step, on Jerusalem, the 1967 lines, on everything,” Netanyahu rails, “and therefore there’s an immense effort of leftist NGOs to mobilize voters from the left bloc, primarily in the Arab sector, and in areas where leftists vote.”

Netanyahu’s warnings of high Arab turnout have been roundly condemned by the left and center earlier throughout the day. He addresses the criticism in his statement.

“I want to clarify: there is nothing illegitimate with citizens voting, Jewish or Arab, as they see fit. What is not legitimate is the funding, the fact that money comes from abroad from NGOs and foreign governments, brings them en masse to the ballot box in an organized fashion, in favor of the left, gives undue power to the extremist Arab list, and weakens the right bloc in such a way that we will be unable to build a government — despite the fact that most citizens of Israel support the national camp and support me as the prime minister from Likud.”

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