Friday, December 21, 2012

Likud Beitenu to Seize Moment of Concern In Wake of Bennett's Major Gaffe

Bennett's first major gaffe on live TV, in which he indicated he will personally refuse the order of evacuating Settlers from their homes (as if that is on the horizon), may have come as a breath of fresh air for PM Netanyahu's campaign as he battles the momentum shifting towards Bennett from the right.

Bennett "has given Netanyahu a clear distinction between the two parties, which Netanyahu can exploit to distinguish Likud as the 'responsible' party of the right, " Anshel Pfeffer suggests. 

 "Bennett also committed a tactical mistake by introducing the issue of disobeying orders into the campaign. Habayit Hayehudi has always presented itself as a "mamlachti" party, one which respects and even reveres all the main institutes of the state, above all the IDF. As a major in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, Bennett obviously thought that his allegiance was above question. But the way both the media and Likud spokesmen have pounced on his claim that "conscientious objection is a built-in part of being a soldier" has already proved him wrong," Pfeffer writes in Haaretz. 

Bennett unwittingly fueled concerns and in the process may have added second thoughts for those planning to vote for him instead of Likud.

It is too early to predict whether this gaffe will slow down Bennett's rise in the polls and even return some voters home to Likud Beitenu. hence, Likud Beitenu strategists are already pouncing away in order to seize the moment and  take advantage of Bennett's faux pas, by fueling concerns about his judgement, and persuade those traditional Likud voters planning to vote for Bayit Yehudi to reconsider.