#Israelex Morning Read – Biden May Boycott Bibi’s Speech; Voters Prefer Right Wing Gov’t; Labor Activists Complain Of Sleepy Campaign
V15 FIRES BACK AT LIKUD: The V15 organization has filed a police complaint against Likud for incitement, following the ruling party’s accusations that the group is engaging in illegal activities in the election campaign. The New Israel Fund has also demanded that Likud officials retract their claims that it is funding V15, a group that urges voters to oust the government. [Haaretz]
BIDEN MAY BOYCOTT BIBI’S CONGRESS SPEECH: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may not only have to look at some empty seats while he’s addressing a joint session of Congress next month, but he’ll probably have a half empty picture frame behind the podium as well. According to a report by Politico, Vice President Joe Biden won’t commit to attending Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. As the president of the Senate, he usually takes a seat beside Boehner behind the podium for addresses by foreign leaders. [Politico] FLASHBACK: “Ron, you gotta damn well report to Bibi that we are still buddies. You got it, right?” [JP]
RASMUSSEN POLL — PLURALITY OF US VOTERS SUPPORT NETANYAHU’S SPEECH: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 42% of Likely Voters think Netanyahu should accept Republican congressional leaders’ invitation to address Congress about Iran even if President Obama does not want him to come. Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree and don’t think the Israeli prime minister should address Congress. Twenty-three percent (23%) are undecided..
— A deeper dive into the numbers shows how partisan the Israel-Iran issue is. While 74% of Republicans think Netanyahu should accept Boehner’s invitation to speak to Congress, 53% of Democrats disagree. While 64% of GOP voters think the Obama administration has done a poor job on the Iran nuclear negotiations, 60% of Democrats give the administration positive marks. [Rasmussen]
PANELS POLL: 49 percent of Israeli voters think Netanyahu is best suited to serves as PM, while 32% said the same about Isaac Herzog. [MAKO] INDEX POLL — NETNAYAHU LEADS ON SECURITY, FP; HERZOG LEADS BIG ON SOCIOECONOMICS: 58% of Israeli Jews think Netanyahu is better suited to deal with Israel’s security issues, while 27% think government headed by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog is better suited. On dealing with socioeconomic issues, 53% of Israelis (52% of Israeli Jews and 58% of Israeli Arabs) think Herzog and Livni are best suited, while only 28% of Israelis (30% of Israeli Jews and 20% of Israeli Arabs) think Netanyahu is better suited to deal with Israel’s socioeconomic issues.
ISRAELIS PREFER RIGHT-WING GOVERNMENT: 59% of Israeli Jews believe that the “right-wing” bloc has a better chance of forming the next government, while 28% believe that the “center-left” bloc has a better chance. Additionally, 53% of Jewish Israelis would prefer the government be formed by the “right-wing” bloc, while 38% would prefer the “center-left” bloc to do so. 54% of Arab Israelis would prefer the government be formed by the “center-left” bloc, while 18% of Arab Israelis would prefer the “right-wing” bloc to do so. [Peace Index] Panels poll: 57% of voters are against a unity government between Likud and the Zionist union, while only 33% support a national unity government. [MAKO]
— “The question in this election is to whom will Netanyahu first pick up the phone to at 10:01 pm, once the polls close.”~Bennett in selfie interview with Amit Segal [MAKO]
ZIONIST UNION PRESENTS NEW ECONOMIC PLAN: The Zionist Camp list presented its economic plan on Tuesday, with its leader Isaac Herzog promising to raise the minimum wage, to reduce VAT on basic products and to provide unemployment insurance for the self-employed. The plan was drawn up by Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, the Zionist Camp’s candidate for finance minister. LABOR MKS OBJECT BUDGET PROPOSAL: The plan as presented was not publicly endorsed by any of Labor’s party members. [Haaretz] According to a Channel 2 report, a major dispute broke out among the party elite in a meeting on Monday, in which Labor members accused the party leaders of giving Trajtenberg, whom they see as too much of a capitalist, free rein with the socioeconomic platform.
— The Likud said the plan was a bad check that would empty the state coffers. “The Left has no clue how to create growth and how to fill the register. The entire funding for it is based on economic growth, and that, the Left simply doesn’t know how to do,” a Likud statement said. [Jpost]
PARTY ACTIVISTS COMPLAIN ZIONIST UNION ELECTION CAMPAIGN ‘DEAD’: Party activists have raised a host of complaints about the lack of field operations budgets, bloated staff, infighting between the director of operations Shimon Battat and the campaign manager Eitan Cabel, and that the campaign is sleepy. In addition, there were also claims that Tzipi Livni’s husband Naftali Spitzer intervenes in basic matters of the campaign. [Walla]
LIEBERMAN’S ANGLO CANDIDATE SAYS PARTY IS BEST HOME FOR ANGLO VOTERS: Voters are misinformed about Yisrael Beytenu, but when they learn what the party stands for, they often change their mind, Ashley Perry, the party’s UK-born candidate for Knesset, said Monday. According to Perry, “when you get past the caricatures you find [Yisrael Beytenu is] the most appropriate party for the Anglo community… A lot of people have one view of the party or [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman, and when I explain the reality, there is a lot of attraction to our platform. We’re one of only two parties that has written a platform, and the only one with a detailed platform in English. We’re not sitting on the fence.. We say what we stand for in a very detailed manner; you know what you’re getting with us. We have economic, diplomatic, and political policies and an overall worldview that is easy to decipher.” [Jpost]
NO FRUITS, BROTHER: Central Election Committee Chair, judge Salim Joubran issued a temporary injunction against Bayit Yehudi giving out dried fruit in honor of Tu B’Shvat Wednesday, saying doing so breaks the law. Following a complaint from a Rami Cohen of Jerusalem, Joubran ruled that the Tu B’Shvat packages violates an article of the Election Law, stating :”Election campaigning cannot be accompanied by entertainment shows, including appearances by artists, instruments, singing, showing films and raising torches. Election campaigning cannot include giving gifts and, with the exception of events in private homes, cannot be connected to giving out food or drink.” The Bayit Yehudi’s Facebook page featured a post on Tuesday evening with a photo of candidate Bezalel Smotrich and young volunteers at an intersection, with the text: “Loving Israel is back in style!” [Jpost]