Binyamin Netanyahu fights surge from rightwing opponent before pollSubmitted by Bob-45 on Sun, 01/06/2013 - 08:01
[And they say there is no such thing as "less than zero."
Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem
The Observer, Saturday 5 January 2013 14.07 EST
Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has been forced to recalibrate his election campaign in response to a downward spiral in opinion polls due to a surprise challenge from an ultra-nationalist startup millionaire and veteran of Israel's most elite commando unit.
New tactics are expected to be in evidence on Sunday when Netanyahu appears at a youth rally, following the panicked cancellation of an event on Thursday after dismal turnouts at two campaign rallies earlier in the week.
On the advice of his campaign strategist, US Republican adviser Arthur Finkelstein, the prime minister will stop making direct attacks on Naftali Bennett, whose far-right Jewish Home party has gained unexpected momentum. Assaults on the 40-year-old Bennett have boosted his electoral appeal, analysts say.