HAPPENING NOW: Police in Tel Aviv estimate about 100,000 people participating in a pro Likud rally in Rabin square. pic.twitter.com/hv37bEklQe
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) March 15, 2015
Ahead of Tuesday’s elections, an estimated crowd of 100,000 Israelis rallied in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where only one week ago an estimated 40,000 rallied in support of the opposition.
Speaking to a rally of thousands of supporters of Israel’s right-wing parties from behind a bulletproof screen at Tel Aviv’s main square, Netanyahu warned that the right-wing government he leads could be voted out of office.
“Our rivals are investing a huge effort to harm me and the Likud, to open a gap between my party, the Likud, and (our rivals), and if we don’t close this gap, there is a real danger that a left-wing government will rise to power,” Netanyahu said.
Final opinion polls published on Friday predicted the center-left Zionist Union led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni would take between 24 and 26 seats in Tuesday’s vote, compared to 20-22 seats for Likud.
No single party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset and the party leader with the best chance of forming a coalition would lead the new government.
While admitting he is trailing in the polls, Netanyahu is hoping that right-wing parties can narrow the gap sufficiently for him to be nominated by Israel’s president to form the next coalition and win a fourth term as prime minister.
Partisanship is at an expected high in the last days before the election, with left-wing sources coming out swinging against the prime minister and his right-wing “settler” crowd.
Meanwhile, a bi-partisan congressional investigatory committee is “probing possible Obama administration ties to the anti-Netanyahu effort” in Israel in a move that “could be seen as a rebuke to President Obama.”