Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a last minute plea to members of his Likud party on Monday night to prod their personal acquaintances to vote for the party once polls open Tuesday morning.
Netanyahu told MKs and other Likud members at a late night meeting that Likud was trailing Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Blue and White party, according to Hebrew media reports.
Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party would side with whatever party won the most seats, further threatening a potential right-wing coalition in the 120-seat Knesset, Netanyahu claimed.
“Feiglin said this evening that his first conversation will be with the biggest party. This means, again, that we don’t have 61 recommendations. We need to be the biggest party and at the moment we have four fewer seats than Lapid and Gantz,” Netanyahu told party members.
He asked those in attendance to call people they knew and convince them to vote for Likud.
“People think that we’re going to win, so they’re not coming to vote. Wake them up everywhere and tell them to bring their family and friends and get out and vote. Our mission is to quickly close the gap as much as possible,” Netanyahu reportedly said.
In recent days, Netanyahu has issued appeals for support from right-wing voters, saying the right is in danger of losing its hold on power if the Blue and White party emerges from the elections with a lead of four or five seats over Likud.
Despite an expected majority for right-wing factions, Netanyahu has pointed to recent comments by President Reuven Rivlin pondering how to choose who should get the first shot at cobbling together a government.
The premier has said the president would choose whichever party is the largest, if no prime ministerial candidate has a sufficient number of recommendations from other party leaders to assemble a coalition.
Netanyahu has indicated that he is concerned that Feiglin’s party, a radical right-wing list, which is soaring in the polls on a pledge to legalize marijuana, and is seen to be heading for five to seven seats, will not recommend him for the premiership, changing the coalition arithmetic.