Shaked calls for voters – especially women – to strengthen her right-wing bloc

Yemina’s party head is worried, admits that the Likud strategy is siphoning votes from the party.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Yemina head Ayelet Shaked told the press on the way to the ballot box Tuesday morning that the Likud strategy to siphon votes away from her party was wrongheaded as what counts the most is the size of the right-wing bloc and not of any individual party.

“I think that we led an effective campaign, that explained that what is important is the size of the bloc, the number of those recommending [someone to the president to be prime minister], and not the size of the party,” she said.

Shaked cited as proof what occurred after the April elections.

“The public can’t have such a short memory,” she said. “Only five months ago we found out that the size of the party is not the determining factor, only the size of the bloc.”

The 43-year-old former justice minister was referring to the fact that although the Likud received more mandates than the Blue and White party, Benjamin Netanyahu could not form a coalition of like-minded members and dissolved the Knesset in order to go to new elections.

In the April election, the right-wing Jewish Home party had split into two, with Shaked and Naftali Bennett running at the top of the New Right party which just missed the electoral threshold. This meant that the right-wing bloc lost four crucial seats that would have made a Netanyahu-led government possible.

In this round, New Right joined a united right-wing list to try to avoid a repeat of the April scenario.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent strategy of trying to downsize his natural coalition partners by constantly repeating the message that only a large Likud could stave off a left-wing government, however, has taken its toll, Shaked said.

“We are worried,” she admitted, when asked about the Likud campaign. “It hurt us. It hurt us badly.”

Then, as the only female leader of a major political party, Shaked made a direct plea to voters of her gender.

“I want to call on the wonderful women of Israel to come out and empower female leadership,” she said with a smile before walking into the polling station.