Scramble for votes pits Netanyahu's Likud against rightist allies

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By Euronews  with Reuters, AP
Scramble for votes pits Netanyahu's Likud against rightist allies

Flagging in opinion polls before Tuesday’s Israeli election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to rally his country’s rightists by casting his centre-left challengers as tools of a global campaign to usurp power.

The final opinion polls published before the vote give the Zionist Union alliance a four-seat lead over Netanyahu’s Likud party.

“I think that Bibi’s (Netanyahu) power is at an end and a revolution is needed,” said one Tel Aviv resident.

Netanyahu warned voters who have abandoned his party that without their support he could lose.

“I’m certainly worried,” he said. “I think that anyone who sees this gap understands that we have three days to close it, several days to close this gap. Because otherwise Tzipi and Bougie (Herzog) will be prime ministers here in Israel…”

Tens of thousands of Israelis showed up in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square last week for “Israel wants change,” the highest profile rally in the run up to the election.

People at the Tel Aviv rally wanted a change in Israel’s priorities. To refocus on housing, health and the country’s cost of living.

Isaac Herzog recognises the number one problem facing the citizens of Israel is housing.

His Labour Party is the largest member of the Zionist Union alliance.

When a reporter asked Herzog if he feels “like a change is coming,” he replied: “We’re working on it, we’re pressing for it. There’s still a long way to go, but we hope to win.”

Netanyahu held onto power in the last election despite critics saying he focused too much on national security and not enough on economic issues.

He could scrape into a fourth term if the Zionist Union fails to win enough support in a political spectrum where right-leaning parties dominate.