Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning Sunday over the possibility of a left-wing victory in Tuesday's election, vowing he would never divide Jerusalem and will continue to build in all parts of the capital.
The prime minister was speaking at a right-wing rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. Officials sources said the rally, held under slogan “United for the Land of Israel,” drew some 25,000 people, but organizers claimed tens of thousands had participated.
“If we don’t have 61 recommendations — and we don’t — the size of the gap between the large parties will decide the question,” Netanyahu said, referring to the number of MKs needed to recommend to President Reuven Rivlin that Netanyahu should get first crack at forming the next government.
He added, however, that the gap between the parties was bridgeable. In an effort to draw voters from within the right-wing bloc to vote Likud, he declared that Habayit Hayehudi would be a senior partner in his government, “no matter how many mandates it gets.”
Netanyahu also addressed Kulanu party chairman Moshe Kahlon, a former Likud minister, saying, “a man from the national camp doesn’t coronate a left-wing government.” He called on Kahlon to join his government as finance minister, to “bring down the price of housing and the cost of living, the way we brought down cellular phone prices in our previous term.”
Netanyahu warned that Zionist Union would divide Jerusalem, while he would never do so and would continue to build in all parts of the capital. Zionist Union co-leader Tzipi Livni had decried decisions to build in Jerusalem, he said, while party chairman Isaac Herzog had said that he sees Jerusalem serving as the capital of two states. “Now they are obfuscating and trying to hide this,” the premier said.
Netanyahu also referred to remarks made by painter and writer Yair Garbuz last Saturday night at an anti-Netanyahu rally in the same square. “They called us ‘amulet-kissers.’ Then they added ‘stupid mezuzah-kissers.’ I want to ask, what’s wrong exactly with kissing mezuzot?” He said that the right-wing public observes Jewish tradition “and believes in Israel’s eternal values.”
According to the prime minister, "something is going on during this election that was hidden at first. Now I'm sure everyone is aware of it. A fortune was funneled from abroad to the left-wing organization V15, with one goal, to replace the government led by me with a government led by Tzipi and Bougie, supported by the joint Arab party. These efforts focus on one message. Just not Bibi. They're doing it."
Netanyahu: "We are building in Jerusalem, in all Jerusalem. This isn't the way of the left, this isn't the way of Tzipi and Buzhi"
Bennett: Herzog, are you not ashamed?
Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett, who in the middle of his address picked up a guitar and sang “Jerusalem of Gold,” referred to Herzog’s visit to the Western Wall earlier Sunday. [WATCH BELOW]
“Herzog brought a lot of photographers to the Western Wall, touched the stones, and said what had to be said,” Bennett said. “But the same Herzog, when abroad, said the following: ‘I myself have no problem and won’t fall off my chair if we agree on Jerusalem integrating two capitals. The capital of Palestine in the eastern city and the capital of Israel in the western part.’ And I say to you, aren’t you embarrassed? Who do you think you’re fooling?”
Bennett at right-wing rally: "these elections over whether Israel remains a Jewish state. The left want to give 100k Eritreans citizenship"
In addition to Netanyahu and Bennett, the rally was addressed by Yahad party leader Eli Yishai; Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Habayit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, Likud candidate Benny Begin, right-wing activist Daniela Weiss and Rabbi Haim Druckman.
Netanyahu describes Herzog as "the 2nd candidate of the left" (after Livni)
The Zionist Union called the rally a "horror show," and responded to the speeches by saying, “Bibi is the prime minister of the extreme right, and only the Zionist Union can halt their control of the state and the government.”
Earlier on Sunday, the Central Elections Committee accepted a petition filed by the Zionist Union, and noted that the protest is a "political event that constitutes electioneering."
As a result of the ruling, musicians were not be allowed to perform, and the event wasn't televised.
Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, who also chairs the elections committee, accepted the Zionist Union's claim that musicians should be barred from performing at the event, and that the event went from a public gathering to a political electioneering event following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement that he will deliver a speech there.
Following the committee's decision, the Zionist Union party also plans to approach the State Comptroller with a request to investigate the funding of the event to ensure that no campaign finance laws were violated.
Organizers of the rally have come under fire for funding given by local authorities in the West Bank, including by subsidizing bus transport for residents of settlements in their jurisdiction.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now