Likud launches campaign with theme: Another 200,000 votes

Fully half of those targeted in the new election campaign are right wingers who did not vote in September.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Likud is unveiling its new election campaign Tuesday which aims to add 200,000 votes to its party to ensure a 61-seat majority in the Knesset for the right-wing-religious bloc.

This would add 5-to-6 mandates to the bloc if the number of votes needed to win a single Knesset seat remains the same as the last elections ~ 36,000. The latest poll, taken after President Donald Trump released his peace plan last week, showed the right-wing bloc projected to win 55-to-57 seats, with the Likud taking 33-34 of them.

Likud MK Miki Zohar, who is heading the party’s campaign, has two broad categories of potential voters that he will be targeting, according to Israel Hayom.

The first is the huge pool of citizens who consider themselves right-wing but did not bother coming to the polls in September. According to Likud estimates, that number totaled 100,000 people, half their target for the March 2 election.

The other half is made up of what Zohar called the “soft right,” who switched last time to Blue and White or Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu party but still mostly identify with Likud principles.

These include people who in the past voted for Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party, immigrants from Anglo-Saxon countries and the former USSR, Israelis who live in the periphery, and even the ultra-Orthodox and non-Jews.

Zohar says that the main job will be convincing citizens who live in the south of the country and have been targeted constantly by Hamas rockets and explosive balloons from the Gaza Strip.

The periphery, those areas outside the main cities, has always been considered a Likud stronghold. Yet, many voted for Blue and White or didn’t vote at all in September’s election due to their frustration and anger over the security situation.

Zohar will also target more unusual potential voters.

Some Arabs, for example, care more for their quality of life than the Palestinian issue.

“Not everyone connects to the messages of [Joint Arab List MKs] Tibi and Odeh,” he said. “There, too, they want to live securely from a financial standpoint, it’s important for them to make a living and for their children to have a good education.”

A good public relations campaign used together with the personal backing of some dozen Arab mayors who support Netanyahu could do the trick, he says.

In general, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make personal appearances around the country as he did in September. Focused public relation campaigns will target specific sectors. Rallies will also be held to raise voter enthusiasm.