Bibi Runs Against World in Israeli Election Drama

Netanyahu Woos Settlers, Slams U.N. and Watches His Right Flank

Right On, Bibi: Benjamin Netanyahu visits a university in the Jewish settlement of Ariel on the West Bank. The Israeli premier is tacking to the right as the election nears.
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Right On, Bibi: Benjamin Netanyahu visits a university in the Jewish settlement of Ariel on the West Bank. The Israeli premier is tacking to the right as the election nears.

By Reuters

Published January 08, 2013.
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The civil war in nearby Syria and Israeli fears that Syrian chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist rebels also figure high on Netanyahu’s campaign list of eye-openers for foreign leaders.

“I call on the world to wake up. History will judge severely those who equate democratic Israel, which is establishing a university (in Ariel), to those tyrannical regimes slaughtering their countrymen and possessing weapons of mass destruction,” he said during his visit to the settlement.

Running under the campaign slogan, “A strong prime minister, a strong Israel”, Netanyahu’s Likud party, allied in the election with the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu faction, has lost some ground to a start-up far-right party led by high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett.

But opinion polls still count Netanyahu as a shoo-in to enlist right-wing parties after the vote and form the next coalition government. In Israel, no single party has ever won a parliamentary majority.

Bennett, a former settler leader, opposes a Palestinian state and wants to annex about 60 percent of the West Bank.

Netanyahu is still formally committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a peace deal with Israel, while raising conditions - many of them already rejected by the Palestinians - for its creation.

But he has been making clear to voters that he intends to plough ahead with settlement construction, suggesting it is a sacred duty.

“We remain loyal to our homeland will continue to protect our citizens, develop our country and build in our land,” Netanyahu said in Ariel.

“With God’s help, we will build and we will succeed.”


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