Israel Election 2019: A Look Back at Netanyahu's Scare Tactics

From saber rattling with Gaza and Iran to warning the election is rigged against him, here are some of Netanyahu's most controversial headlines from the campaign

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Image from Netanyahu's official Instagram account showing the Palestinian flag on a Tel Aviv skyscraper
Image from Netanyahu's official Instagram account showing the Palestinian flag on a Tel Aviv skyscraper, captioned: "If you don't go out and vote – this is how it will end..." Credit: Screen shot / Instagram

Benjamin Netanyahu pulled out all the stops while campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s election that facing an uphill battle to hold on to his job.

The election’s seeming political kingmaker, Avigdor Lieberman, said he’ll insist upon a secular unity government between Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Kahol and Lavan parties, who are running neck-and-neck to become the country’s largest party.

Without Lieberman’s endorsement, though, neither party appears able to secure a parliamentary majority with their prospective ideological allies.

Netanyahu’s political tactics this campaign stirred controversy as he claimed Arab’s threatened “to annihilate” Israel and he raised the spectre of military action against both Iran and Gaza.

Here is a look at 5 of Netanyahu’s most fear inducing headlines:

Netanyahu's new election message: 'Arabs want to annihilate us all' 

"Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men" – that is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new message to voters, which appears through an automated popup message that appears on the screen of anybody accessing his official Facebook page.

Followers are urged by the chatbot (which Facebook suspended for hate speech) on Netanyahu's Facebook page to convince undecided voters to vote for the premier's Likud. The chatbot calls on users to tell the voters they will attempt to persuade that "Israel mustn't have a left-wing government that relies on Arabs who want to destroy us all."

Netanyahu: Israel will probably have no choice but to go to war in Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel would probably have no choice but to go to war in the Gaza Strip. 

Speaking in an interview with Reseht Bet Radio, the premier said that Israel would likely have to set out on a campaign in the coastal enclave in light of the ongoing escalation in recent months. Days later we learned that Israel was preparing to delay the election due to possible Gaza war.

Netanyahu alleged massive Arab voter fraud. Police found one case - in favor of Likud 

Only one of the more than a hundred polling stations the Likud complained about was found to warrant a criminal investigation. The police have so far investigated suspicion of fraud in six polling stations from the April election which it received from the Central Elections Committee. In two of these there was suspected fraud favoring Shas and the Likud.

A source involved in investigation of such fraud told Haaretz that there has been no evidence in any polling station of fraudulent activity favoring Arab parties. However, this has not yet been officially confirmed. These findings come on the backdrop of Likud claims that the last election was “stolen” due to fraudulent activity in Arab communities.

Netanyahu reveals 'nuclear R&D site' in Iran; rivals slam 'electioneering'

Netanyahu said last Monday that Israel has identified additional Iranian sites used to develop Tehran's nuclear program in a special televised address eight days before Israel's election.

In addition to the nuclear site known to the IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, Netanyahu said, there is another secret Iranian site in Abadeh, south of Isfahan, used for the development of nuclear weapons. When Iran learned that Israel knew of the site and what it was used for, they destroyed it completely.

Netanyahu did not specify what exactly was being developed at the site or how Iran found out that Israel is aware of the site.

A day before election, Netanyahu warns 'Arabs (and Leftists) are out voting in large numbers' 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party has already recorded messages to be sent out on Election Day on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of voters’ phones warning them of very high voter turnout among Arab communities and in “left-wing strongholds.”

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