With four weeks remaining before the Knesset election, the joint Likud-Beytenu list officially launched its campaign on Tuesday night at an event at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.
In their speeches, both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman said that voting for Likud-Beytenu would ensure a more stable governing coalition that would be less subject to the demands of smaller sectorial parties.
Netanyahu said that the next government would have three main goals — lowering housing prices, legislating an equitable enlistment law and changing the system of government.
“I am asking [Israeli citizens] one question: Who do they want to lead the State of Israel?” Netanyahu said. “Who is the proper candidate to deal with the Iranian threat, as well as the missile and terror threats? Don’t waste your vote. Voting for smaller parties is a mistake that will weaken Israel. Vote for who you think is needed to lead the State of Israel at this time. Don’t say ‘It is already clear who will be prime minister.’ Those who want to strengthen Israel and the prime minister should vote for Likud-Beytenu.”
“After the election, we will know if citizens voted for a strong Israel or a weak and divided Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said members of the Likud-Beytenu list represent all segments of Israeli society.
In a nod to right-wing voters, Netanyahu said that “with God’s help, we will continue to live and build in Jerusalem. We will continue to strengthen the settlements.”
Talking about the achievements of the outgoing government, Netanyahu highlighted improvements in the education system, the construction of a fence on the border with Egypt which helped stem the flow of illegal migrants into Israel, the deployment of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system and the release of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity.
Lieberman spoke in his speech about Israel’s diplomatic situation.
“All is good,” Lieberman said. “We have one disagreement with the world. That is on the matter of construction in Jerusalem and the settlement blocs. Therefore we need a strong and united government that knows how to withstand pressure. The difference between us and the Left is that we want a built-up Jerusalem and they want a divided Jerusalem.”
“I hear a lot of preaching that Israel is isolated and needs to find a way to talk with [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas,” Lieberman said. “I want to say to the enlightened Left: You were there. You offered Abbas to divide Jerusalem and return to the 1967 borders. What did he say to you? Nyet, no! Is this a partner?”
The campaign launch event, which cost an estimated one million shekels, was attended by thousands of Likud and Yisrael Beytenu activists. In addition to the speeches by Netanyahu and Lieberman, there were films promoting the Likud-Beytenu list and Sarit Hadad sang a song alongside Netanyahu’s wife, Sara.
By Israel Hayom
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