Netanyahu’s bloc set to ‘win’ elections

Netanyahu’s bloc set to ‘win’ elections

Netanyahu’s bloc set to ‘win’ elections

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) speaks on the phone to Israeli citizens urging them to cast their votes for him in the upcoming polls. EPA photo

Four days before Israel’s parliamentary election, opinion polls published Jan. 18 showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still set to win, although his support had slipped to its lowest point in the campaign so far.

Two polls showed Israel’s right-wing and religious bloc winning a slim parliamentary majority of 63 out of 120 seats, with Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu group on course to be the largest party in the Knesset, albeit with eroding support.

No dismantlement

The polls in Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth newspapers both showed Netanyahu’s party winning 32 seats, its poorest predicted showing so far and some 10 seats fewer than Likud and Yisrael Beitenu took in 2009 when they ran separately. Separately, Netanyahu pledged that there would be no dismantlement of any Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins the election.

Asked in an interview with the Maariv newspaper: “Can you promise that during the next four years, no settlement will be dismantled?” Netanyahu answered: “Yes.”
“The days when bulldozers uprooted Jews are behind us, not in front of us. Our record proves it,” he said.

“We haven’t uprooted any settlements, we have expanded them,” he said. “Nobody has any lessons to give me about love for the Land of Israel or commitment to Zionism and the settlements,” he added.

Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.