This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 16, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So the election for Israeli prime minister is tomorrow, and the most recent polling data suggests the race between incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger, Isaac Herzog, is now neck and neck. Now, this election is a pivotal one for Israel because it comes at a particularly tumultuous time for Jews as President Obama negotiates with Iran, ISIS continues its march and anti-Semitism now reaches a critical point not only in Europe, but all over the world. All eyes will be on the United States' closest ally.
Here now with reaction, former Israeli ambassador Dore Gold and the author of "Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle," co-founder of the Policy Initiative Dan Senor is with us.
Dan, let me start with you. Here's the amazing thing. We may have a situation -- well, we know for a fact the V15, which is a project that also includes Americans -- and Paul Begala works for Herzog, but -- that the Obama administration and the State Department might have funded the affiliate in the group that is now trying to unseat Netanyahu, and millions of dollars are being spent outside of Israel to influence this election. What's your reaction?
DAN SENOR, AUTHOR, "START-UP NATION": Yes, well -- well, first of all, it -- I mean, it is -- it does appear that the U.S. government in some way has funded some of these programs that are now being channeled into a get out the vote effort. Whether or not that was part of a deliberate plan to unseat Netanyahu is just unknown. We have no way of knowing...
HANNITY: No, we really do because we know where that money...
HANNITY: We know where that money is being spent. That money is being spent to organize and get out the vote of Israeli Arabs that are viewed as left of center. Isn't that true?
SENOR: Well, to me, what's more problematic is the actual overt activity of Democratic operatives in the U.S., some of whom, as you point out, are very close to Netanyahu. Regardless of whether there's taxpayer funding -- and obviously, if there is taxpayer funding deliberately being spent to…
HANNITY: They're not close to Netanyahu. They want to depose the prime minister. They almost want to -- they want Netanyahu out...
SENOR: ... unseat Netanyahu.
SENOR: But the bigger -- the bigger -- the bigger concern is the, you know, Democratic political operatives that are -- you know, look, many are of them close to the White House and President Obama. I'm hard pressed to believe, having seen these situations before, that some of these operatives would be working so assertively to unseat Netanyahu without some at least tacit approval of senior players within the administration.
HANNITY: All right, what we know is there's a report, Dore, that, in fact, this one -- this group One Voice movement, which is a subsidiary of Victory-15 campaign, the V15 campaign -- does, in fact -- we know that Obama supporters, campaign operatives are on the ground. And in part, they're trying to organize and get out the vote of Bibi's opponents. Is that fairly unprecedented in Israel's history, that an American president would try to unseat a sitting prime minister?
DORE GOLD, FMR. ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Well, we have a general problem which has to do also with European Union NGOs that are flooding Israel with huge amounts of money to work against the Likud, to work against the conservative view in this country.
You know, you have to remember, Sean, that the majority of Israelis are to right of center. That's because of foreign policy and that's also because they're traditional. They are more religiously observant. And therefore, those who want to beat back the general trend in Israeli political life often have to come in with outside money in big amounts, and they create nonprofit organizations and...
GOLD: ... money is moving in strange ways. But I believe that if this is, indeed, happening -- and I say if it's happening -- this is something the Israeli police will have to investigate.
HANNITY: All right. So 12 hours, Dore, outside of this election, there was an alliance between Herzog and Livni. And Livni bows out, sort of like a vice presidential candidate 12 hours before the election saying, I'm out. And they were going to go two years in the prime ministership, two years in the prime ministership.
How does -- how do you factor in how this is going to impact the voters, which are ready to go to the polls in just a couple hours?
GOLD: Well, let me explain the fundamental problem the prime minister has. As I said before, Israel is basically politically conservative. But on the right of center, there are multiple medium-size parties competing with Likud for those same voters. And that tends to drag Likud's numbers down, giving Labor a bit of an advantage.
Now, the prime minister's aware of that, and he has made an incredible campaign effort in the last four to five days, which seems to have picked up his numbers considerably. The general theory in Israel is that because Likud was doing better, Herzog had to take a political choice or political option of jettisoning Tzipi Livni and improving his situation.
HANNITY: But the vast...
GOLD: That is how most of the political reporters in Israel see what happened tonight.
HANNITY: But the vast majority of Israeli citizens, some 60-plus percent, want Prime Minister Netanyahu. You mentioned all these other right of center parties. They will in the end coalition with Bibi and form a government. Do you see any scenario where Herzog would be able to form a government in terms of, would there be enough seats available?
GOLD: That's a key observation that you're making, Sean, because there are two hurdles you have to cross. You have to break over -- move over in order to become prime minister. You have to win the votes in an election. And then in a parliamentary system, you've got to put together a coalition from a number of parties. Prime Minister Netanyahu has the advantage in putting together the coalition. Herzog will have a much more difficult time.
HANNITY: Yes. All right. Dan, let me get -- your thoughts on -- I look at the numbers of all these disparate parties, left, right -- there's far more seats right of center. So I would think that, you know, as has happened in the past, Bibi may not have -- win as many seats as Herzog -- maybe he'll be short one or two -- but he would still be called on to form the next government, wouldn't he?
SENOR: Right. Exactly. So that's what happened in 2009. Netanyahu technically came in second, but he was the only one who was able to form a government. And that is the -- as Dore was saying and as you've observed, the aggregate number of votes in Israel -- if you look at the electorate, the right of center segment of the electorate is larger than the left of center segment of the electorate, which just means there's more vote share that goes to the right in Israel than goes to the left. And Prime Minister Netanyahu has been politically successful...
HANNITY: All right...
SENOR: ... even though his party hasn't gotten the most number of seats...
HANNITY: The right is splintered off...
SENOR: ... all these parties come in together.
HANNITY: All right, let me play the words of Jon Voight...
SENOR: But then they come together because the expectation is that Netanyahu will be the prime minister.
HANNITY: All right, it's really a win for Netanyahu. Let me -- let me play Jon Voight. And he makes some very hard-hitting comments. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON VOIGHT, AMERICAN ACTOR: Hi. I'm Jon Voight. I love Israel. I want to see Israel survive and not be overtaken by the madmen of this world. President Obama does not love Israel. His whole agenda is to control Israel. And this way, he can be friends with all of Israel's enemies. He doesn't want Bibi Netanyahu to win this upcoming election.
America has not been the same since his presidency. I beg everyone, all of you, to understand the truth. Those like Isaac Herzog, who believe that deal making is the solution to what Israel faces, are as wrong as Neville Chamberlain believing he made a peace deal with Hitler. We must learn from history where the true danger lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: What is your reaction to that, Dore? Real quick, we're running out of time.
GOLD: Look, you know, I appreciate the support that Jon Voight gives us. We will work with the elected president of the United States. We understand the differences. We have a different approach to the Middle East. We see the Middle East differently. And that is why the prime minister came to Washington, to tell and warn the American people about this impending deal with Iran.
But you know, we don't get into love. We don't get into warmth. We don't get into, you know, did they have a good meal together. We get into what are the interests of Israel, the interests of the United States, and how do we protect both our countries.
HANNITY: All right, guys, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it. We'll be watching very closely.
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