From JPost.com, by Isi Leibler, February 3, 2009 [my own emphasis added - SL]:
... I am convinced that Likud represents the best available choice to effectively lead the nation during the difficult period facing us....
...The incumbent government parties, Kadima and Labor, are committed to extending the same failed approach that led us into the mire in which we now find ourselves. Both Barak and Livni are assiduously avoiding any discussion about specific policies and concentrating on demonizing their opponents. Neither is willing to clarify their position on ceding territory to the Palestinians or dividing Jerusalem. All we hear are endless meaningless mantras endorsing two independent states living peacefully side by side with one another.
...overall Likud is indisputably fielding the most talented team.
...in contrast to his opponents, Netanyahu does articulate policy guidelines. He undertakes to maintain negotiations with the PA but is adamant that no further territorial concessions will be considered without genuine reciprocity. He pledges to oppose the physical division of Jerusalem. He announced that he would not create new settlements but undertook to act on the premise that the settlement blocs adjacent to Israel are here to stay and must be expanded to cater for natural growth.
Netanyahu displayed commendable restraint and declined to criticize government policy during the Gaza campaign. But he made it clear that unless it comes to terms with our existence, Hamas must be destroyed. He undertook to ensure that deterrence would be effectively applied and is adamant that a Likud government would under no circumstances remain impotent if Israelis continue being targeted by missiles.
Netanyahu's opponents allege that ... Netanyahu would create a disastrous confrontation with the United States. This is nonsense. Netanyahu and Obama have already had harmonious meetings. But it is crucial today for Israel to have a leader who not only understands the American scene but has the capacity to know when to concede as well as when to be strong enough to say no. The capitulation by former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to the demands by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to cede control of the Philadelphi corridor during the Sharon era was a prime example of a disaster arising from failure to resist unreasonable American demands.
Beyond security and defense...as Finance Minister, his qualifications in this area are not in question.
The other issue is Netanyahu's passionate commitment to reforming the education system and dealing with the disastrous erosion of Zionist and Jewish values in the state educational streams. Being one of the most urbane politicians in Israel, Netanyahu genuinely understands the critical need to raise overall educational standards and harness them to enhance Jewish and Zionist identity.
...to achieve this, Likud must obtain sufficient seats in order to minimize the leverage of one dimensional sectoral parties primarily concerned with promoting their own benefits rather than the national interest. This will be determined by the votes we are about to cast.