Israel Election Updates / Netanyahu: Huge, Worldwide Effort to Topple Me

6 days to go: Likud activist calls Obama anti-Semite, then retracts: 'But he has a bad air'; Moshe Ifergan also called Netanyahu's 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University a 'genius way of dragging Obama along.'

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Benjamin Netanyahu at Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem.Credit: Olivier Fittousi

Latest political summary: Balad MK Ahmad Tibi said that Minister Avigdor Lieberman's statements calling to decapitate "disloyal Israeli Arabs" are severe and require a police investigation. Read full story here

Kulanu's Moshe Kahlon tells Haaretz readers: I support two-state solution, but there is no point to negotiations at the moment because there is "no partner." Read full story here

Latest opinion and analyses: Will Herzog be the leader that lifts the Labor Party curse? (Anshel Pfeffer) | Bibi fatigue: Israelis are sick of Netanyahu, but can’t agree on his replacement (Allison Kaplan Sommer) | Exorcising Netanyahu out of office (Amir Oren) | Israelis want a different political agenda (Uzi Baram)

Latest updates:

6:45 P.M. Netanyahu: Huge, worldwide effort to topple me

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks on Tuesday there was a "huge, worldwide effort" to ensure he loses next week's closely contested election.

Army Radio, which aired what it said were comments he made on Monday to activists of his right-wing Likud party, interpreted them as referring to foreign funding for advocacy groups campaigning for a change of government in Israel.

Political parties in Israel are banned from accepting money directly from overseas donors during an election campaign. But such funding is allowed under Israeli law for non-profit organisations espousing political viewpoints, and U.S. consultants have advised Israeli candidates for years.

"It is a very tight race. Nothing is guaranteed because there is a huge, worldwide effort to topple the Likud government," said Netanyahu. (Reuters)

5:15 P.M. New poll puts Zionist Union ahead of Netanyahu's Likud

Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union has maintained its 24-to-21-seat lead against Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud in the Knesset Channel's latest poll, suggesting that the prime minister's speech to Congress last week hasn't buoyed his party before the March 17 election.

According to the poll results released Tuesday, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would come in third in the 120-seat parliament at 14 seats — the party's best showing this election season.

Zionist Union is the joint slate of Herzog's Labor Party and Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah. The station's previous poll came out just before Netanyahu’s speech to Congress a week ago.

Both surveys project 13 seats for the Joint List of Arab parties and 12 for Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi. Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party has edged up to nine seats from eight, while Meretz has eased to five seats from six. (Haaretz) Read the full story

9:40 A.M. Likud activist calls Obama an anti-Semite

Likud activist Moshe Ifergan on Monday called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University, in which he expressed support for a two-state solution, a "genius way of dragging Obama along." 

Speaking at an election event at Jerusalem's Lev Academic Center, Ifergan also called Obama an "anti-Semitie," but later in the panel apologized for using that word. "I want to retract the word anti-Semite," Ifergan said. "But Obama has a bad air about him. (Roy 'Chicky' Arad)

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