Netanyahu fears election loss as numbers show right-wing indifference

The entire left-wing is fired up to vote, Netanyahu says, while the right is indifferent – exactly the opposite of 2015.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sounded a loud warning to his base to get out and vote next week in an exclusive interview he granted Israel Hayom on Thursday.

“We are very close to losing the battle,” he said. “We discovered a factor we did not notice until last night…that there is a reversal here of 2015.”

In the last elections, he explained, the left stayed home while the right came out in droves.

“Today the opposite is happening. The right is complacent and the left is mobilized to vote. When asked in the polls how many intend to vote, the left gets 100 percent. Not 99.2 – one hundred percent. Everyone is going. And on the right we see a considerable percentage below that (about 80%).”

The difference in percentage, he pointed out, “is equal to about five Knesset seats.” And that is currently the basic difference between the right-wing and religious bloc and the center-left-Arab opposition bloc in the polls.

Netanyahu reiterated his warnings throughout the interview in various ways.

When asked who might be his next foreign or defense minister, he answered, “It’s not interesting at all. I’m not divvying up the spoils because right now the spoils are going to be theirs if the right doesn’t come to its senses.”

“They are fighting with their knives between their teeth,” he continued. “And our people are sitting complacently. If they won’t understand that they must go to vote, all our achievements are going to go down the drain.”

It is unknown whether the prime minister’s concern is real or whether he is using similar tactics to his victorious 2015 campaign. In those elections, Netanyahu famously called on Election Day for his supporters to get to the voting booths because “The rule of the right is in danger, Arab voters are coming in droves to the ballot boxes.”

He later apologized for his remarks, saying that it hadn’t been his intention to offend the Arab community.

In any case, 71.8 percent of Israel’s eligible voters ended up going to the polls, casting ballots in the highest rate since 1999. However, the Likud itself only garnered 23.4 percent of the vote.