Israel Election Updates Lieberman: I’ll Recommend Myself as Prime Minister

2 days to go: Lieberman says will recommend self as PM; soldiers begin to vote; Netanyahu: If I’m re-elected, Kahlon will be finance minister

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Israel's Foreign Minister and head of Yisrael Beitenu party Avigdor Lieberman, March 15.
Israel's Foreign Minister and head of Yisrael Beitenu party Avigdor Lieberman, March 15.Credit: Reuters

Latest political summary: Although an official one-on-one debate between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main contender Isaac Herzog has not taken place in the run-up to Election Day, the two politicians did briefly exchange words on Saturday on Channel 2's Meet the Press. Meanwhile, Isaac Herzog called Netanyahu's disregard for Israel's housing crisis an "unforgivable sin."

For Saturday's updates, click here

Latest opinion and analyses: Change will only come from outside Israel's political system (Guy Rolnik) | Election surprise a certainty, but what kind? (Jonathan Lis) | Two days to elections, Netanyahu gripped by vertigo (Barak Ravid) | A lot of talk about female representation, but an election campaign dominated by sexism (Tsafi Saar)

Latest updates:

7:30 P.M. Herzog visits Western Wall

“I will know how to protect the strength and power of Jerusalem and its residents,” Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog said during a visit to the Western Wall Sunday.

Herzog read Psalm 91, said a short prayer and put a note between the stones of the Wall. “My family has been rooted and intertwined with Jerusalem for generations and I am among those who say every day, ‘May You return to Your city, Jerusalem, with compassion,’” Herzog said. (Jonathan Lis)

7:12 P.M. Rightist party campaign broadcast banned for racism

The Yahad party was forced to alter an election campaign broadcast scheduled for Sunday morning after the original version was banned by Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Salim Joubran.

The spot said, “It’s time to put an end to diplomatic concessions to terror and its envoys, infiltrators and foreign workers.” Joubran ruled that the statement was racist and incited to violence. After some negotiating, the party agreed to run the spot without the reference to “infiltrators and foreign workers.” (Ofra Edelman)

6:15 P.M. IDF soldiers begin to vote

Soldiers began to vote Saturday night at some of the 668 military polling stations that will be open at army bases and military prisons around the country. The first to vote were Israel Air Force officers who cast ballots Saturday night at the Sde Dov base.

Soldiers vote in double envelopes, placing their ballot in the usual blue envelope and enclosing it in another envelope on which the soldiers’ personal details are recorded. The soldiers’ envelopes are checked against civilian voting records before being opened, to ensure that no soldier votes twice. (Gili Cohen)

4:00 P.M. Lieberman: I’ll recommend myself as prime minister to Rivlin

Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday his party would win at least 10 seats in Tuesday’s election, even though the latest polls showed the party scraping past the electoral threshold with five seats at most.

“I will first of all recommend myself,” he said, referring to his recommendation to President Reuven Rivlin on who should form a government. Lieberman, who was speaking during a visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, said if he doesn’t become prime minister, “I see myself as defense minister in the next government.” (Haaretz)

3:35 P.M. Michael Oren: Israel must repair ties with US

Israel must try to repair relations with the United States no matter who wins Tuesday's election, said Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and a potential foreign minister if his party joins the next government.

"We have to do a major reach-out. There's some work to be done," Oren said, citing strained ties after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's March 3 speech to Congress assailing a potential nuclear deal with Iran sought by President Barack Obama. Read the full article here.

9:58 A.M. Ex-Mossad chief Dagan: Herzog is very best candidate for prime minister

During the interview with Channel 10, Dagan also expressed his support for Labor chief Isaac Herzog as prime minister: "In my eyes, he is not just a fitting candidate, but at this time, he seems to me to be the very best candidate to take on the role of prime minister."

Dagan also said Saturday night that he would have resigned if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. (Haaretz) Read full story here

9:37 A.M. Netanyahu: If I’m re-elected, Kahlon will be finance minister

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday morning that if re-elected, he would he would choose Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon to serve as finance minister, no matter how many seats the latter's party receives during the election.

"I cannot form a government without him," Netanyahu told Army Radio. In a Facebook post, Netanyahu wrote that he and Kahlon would work together to lower the cost of living, just as they worked to bring down cellular prices during Kahlon's tenure with Likud.

Kahlon responded by saying that Netanyahu had previously promised him both the finance portfolio and authority over the Israel Lands Administration - only to break those promises.

9:02 A.M. Netanyahu to speak at Tel Aviv right-wing rally

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak at the right-wing rally scheduled for Sunday night at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square.

Israeli local authorities in the West Bank are helping to fund the rally, including by subsidizing bus transport for residents of settlements in their jurisdiction.

The Binyamin, Har Hebron and Gush Etzion regional councils are among the participating local governments, which signed ads urging residents to attend. (Jonathan Lis and Chaim Levinson) Read full story here

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