Netanyahu warns: Arab List surging to 15 seats, encouraged by PA

Netanyahu warns voters that the Arab Joint List will gain a massive number of seats if not stopped.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns of a high turnout of Arab voters and predicts the Arab Joint List will gain 15 seats, according to local Israeli media outlets.

The prime minister convened an emergency meeting with the top echelon of his Likud party to discuss their response to exit polling outcomes.

Reports say that Netanyahu received data from his American pollster, John McLaughlin, regarding the implications of the large turnout of Arab voters.

During the meeting, Netanyahu was also told by Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter that Israeli-Arabs are being goaded by the Palestinian Authority to vote for the Arab parties.

Netanyahu turned to the Israeli public urging it to offset this surge of Arab voters by heading to their nearest polling station to vote for his Likud party.

Joint List responds

Representatives of the Arab Joint List responded to Netanyahu’s warning to the Israeli electorate by saying that he is falsifying data for his own purposes.

“Netanyahu and the Hebrew press are purposely inflating reports on Arab turnout to present a false impression that will keep Arab voters at home,” they said.

Last week, the Joint List went to Facebook to demand that it close Netanyahu’s Facebook chatbot page after it spread a message warning that Arab Israeli politicians “want to annihilate us all.”

The social media giant agreed that the chatbot had violated Facebook policy and shut it down for 24 hours.

The page also landed in hot water after it illegally shared polling information. In Israel, it is forbidden to publicize polls.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the closure of the page by saying, “We’re working with elections officials around the world to help ensure the integrity of the elections.

“Our policy explicitly states that developers are required to obey all laws applicable in the country where their application is accessible. Therefore we’ve suspended the bot’s activity, in light of the violation of local law, until the close of the polls at 10 p.m.”

Current exit polls are showing that Netanyahu’s Likud party is running neck-and-neck with its main rival, Blue and White.