Although the two parties still officially have the premiership as a goal, on an unofficial level, both are using public relations in an effort to increase their strength in comparison to Kadima. The Labor Party is aiming for 24-25 Knesset seats, and senior party officials are now relaying the message that a strong Labor Party is needed in the government. Likud is reaching for 20 seats, with party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that the goal is to create a right-wing bloc large enough to keep Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from forming a coalition.
The Likud’s unofficial goal is to win at least 20 seats so as to thwart the establishment of an Olmert government by creating a right-wing bloc. For Netanyahu, this is also a battle for his own survival within the Likud.
“No one thinks that there will be a situation in which another party will surpass Kadima, but there is some chance that a few things could happen that will cause the right-wing bloc to be sufficiently strong,” said a senior Likud official. “If we succeed in taking a few seats from the floating votes, the right-wing bloc will grow and we will be able to prevent the formation of a government headed by Olmert. As of now, we’re not there, but that’s the goal.”
To that end, Likud activists are employing a campaign warning against Olmert’s unilateral withdrawal plan, and are sending the message that the elections are a referendum on what they are calling a dangerous plan.
This message has been strengthened by Netanyahu’s statements that the Likud will not form a government with Kadima, based on Olmert’s plan for a unilateral withdrawal. Sunday, the Likud began pressuring right-wing parties such as Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu to declare who they would recommend as the person to form the next government.
As has been stated numerous times in the past, this blog totally disregards polling data as being undependable and unreliable. For context, click here.
But when the party with the best shot at defeating Olmert and Kadima says that “Likud’s unofficial goal is to win at least 20 seats” and that”No one thinks that there will be a situation in which another party will surpass Kadima, but there is some chance that a few things could happen that will cause the right-wing bloc to be sufficiently strong,” they are basically, in NFL terms, in the fourth quarter with 5 minutes left, down by 10 points, the ball in the “red-zone” on first down and playing for a tie. In such a scenario, you’ve given up on winning in 60 minutes. You’re just trying to get the game into overtime where anything can happen.
But when you play to win, things can happen. Remember the Miracle at the Meadowlands?
There are still 2 weeks left in the campaign, roughly equivalent to 5 minutes left in the game. And the Israeli scene is a wildcard [remember the string of events in Bibi’s miracle of ’96?], much like the freak bounces of an American football. Bibi, where’s the “fire in the belly?” There’s sufficient time left for a drive. The stakes now are much higher than mere political glorification. Survival is on the line! And remember what Lombardi said, “winning isn’t everything, its the ONLY thing.” MB