The Likud is, with good reason, focusing its election campaign on its home turf, encouraging party loyalists to get out and vote on March 2. The campaign fears that the heavy cloud of criminal indictment hanging over the head of their prime ministerial candidate, Benjamin Netanyahu, might lead many party supporters to stay at home, particularly older voters with fond memories of modest, unassuming one-time Likud leaders and prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. If not for that cloud, the Likud would be doing something other than mounting a third election campaign within less than a year.
In-depth polling conducted in recent years indicates that the heart of the Israeli Jewish voter lies on the right. Even if Blue and White leader Benny Gantz manages to form a government comprised of his centrist party, the center-left Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance, and Avigdor Liberman's right-wing Yisrael Beitenu, and without the support of the Arab Joint List — an imaginary scenario bordering on the absurd — such a government would have a right-wing smell. At least three Blue and White Knesset members — Moshe Yaalon, Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel — are self-declared right-wingers, while West Bank settler Liberman proudly espouses the land swap concept of transferring Israeli Arab communities to the Palestinian Authority's control.