The continuing violence in Gaza is one of the top issues for Israeli voters and, with less than a week to go until the nation votes, the popularity of right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is fast increasing.
His campaigning in a Jerusalem market was cut short due to the commotion caused by his supporters. Netanyahu’s promise to remove Hamas from power in Gaza is one step further than Israel’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, who is also threatening to hit Hamas hard. The head of the Kadima party used a speech today to urge people to vote next week. Given her reported willingness to continue bombing suspected militant targets in Gaza, some analysts say Netanyahu may try to broaden his coalition by teaming up with Livni. But Labour leader, Ehud Barak, who is trailing in third place, has also let it be know that he is ready to strike a stronger blow if necessary after Israel hit smuggling tunnels yesterday. That was in response to a rocket attack on the port city of Ashkelon – the deepest strike on Israeli territory since the truce was declared on January 18.