(WASHINGTON POST) TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned supporters at a rally here Sunday that he and his Likud party may not win Tuesday’s election, a potentially dramatic fall for a consummate political survivor whose nine years in office transformed him into the public face of contemporary Israel.
A loss by Netanyahu — or a razor-thin win and the prospect that he would be forced to enter into an unwieldy “government of national unity” with his rivals — would mark a sobering reversal for Israel’s security hawks, in a country where the electorate has been moving steadily rightward for the past 15 years.
The final round of opinion polls Friday showed Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party facing a surprisingly strong challenge by Isaac Herzog, leader of the center-left Labor Party, and his running mate, former peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, who hold a small but steady lead. Their campaign has emphasized economic issues and the soaring cost of living.
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