Likud leaders depart Netanyahu briefing with one message: Strong right or weak left

After a briefing by Netanyahu on Sunday, the Likud leadership left the meeting with a message that the elections boiled down to a strong right-wing government or a weak left-wing one. 

By World Israel News Staff

After a briefing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, Cabinet ministers and Likud Knesset members left the meeting with a unified message: “It’s Bibi or Tibi,” reports the Ynet news site.

Bibi is Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname and Tibi refers to Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of Knesset who leads the Ta’al Party (Arab Movement for Change) and was an adviser to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. The Likud claims that Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, who lead the newly merged Blue and White party are prepared to form a government with Tibi’s party.

With polls showing for the first time that the new Blue and White party is leading the Likud, albeit by a small margin, Netanyahu sharpened his attack on the opposition: “In the end, the choice is between a weak left-wing government led by Lapid and Gantz or a strong right-wing Likud government under my leadership.”

Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev appeared to have received the message before the meeting. On her way into the meeting she said, according to Ynet: “The situation is simple – there is a weak left and a left of inexperienced people, a left of people who try to mislead the public and sit with Tibi in the government. This needs to be clear: It’s Bibi or Tibi.”

In reference to the indictment decision announced by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Regev said “All the cases will collapse. Wait until after the hearings.” The indictment against Netanyahu is dependent on hearings. Netanyahu has expressed confidence that after the hearings where he can present his side, the cases will be dismissed.

(Flash90/Mark Sellem)

Minister Ofir Akunis echoed the meeting’s theme: “It’s already crystal clear, these elections are Bibi or Tibi. The polls show that the left bloc achieves 61 [seats in the Knesset] only by means of the Arab parties. The Blue and White party lies and deceives the public. Everyone who is aware knows that they can’t put together a government without the Arab factions.”

Immediately following Thursday’s announcement by the attorney general, all of Netanyahu’s coalition partners announced their support for the prime minister and said they will wait until the results of the hearings before making a decision as to whether to sit in a government in which the premier faces criminal proceedings.

Even Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party, which left the government in a move that directly affected Netanyahu’s decision to call early elections, said that Netanyahu enjoys the presumption of innocence just like every citizen of Israel.

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