On the eve of the Likud leadership primary, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he would build 3,000 new homes in Yehudah and Shomron. Netanyahu did not specify where the homes would be built or any other details, but he did say that the plan would be brought before the National Planning Council within two weeks. In addition to homes, several new industrial zones would be built in Yehudah and Shomron, he said.
Netanyahu made the declaration at a rally in Or Yehudah, one of dozens he has spoken at in recent days in an effort to bring out the vote for him among Likud members. At the rally, he took the opportunity to bash rival Gideon Sa’ar. “I am not the candidate of the media,” Netanyahu said, contrasting the positive coverage Sa’ar has been getting in recent days. “The media wants to put you to sleep so that you won’t go vote. They tell you we have no chance of winning the Knesset election, but we know we have been feeling fantastic in recent days. Our people are on fire. This time things will be different.”
Also Tuesday, Netanyahu picked up the endorsement of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who until now has not spoken out for either Netanyahu or Sa’ar. In a social media post, Erdan said that “as a member of the Security Cabinet I intimately recognize the challenges that we face, and after taking into consideration all factors, I have come to the conclusion that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the best person to lead the country.”
Commentators on Channel 20 said that the Erdan endorsement was a sure sign that Netanyahu was likely to win the Likud primary contest by a wide margin. “Sa’ar knows he can’t beat Netanyahu, but he wants to make a strong enough showing, and is hoping to get 30% to 35% of the vote,” the commentators said. “But once Erdan has decided to take a side, it likely means that Netanyahu will do a lot better than that.”