Today, Israel Goes to the Polls
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Today, Israel Goes to the Polls

By IndraStra Global News Team

Today, Israel Goes to the Polls

Image Attribute: The file photo of a Israeli election booth / Source: Voice of the Cape, South Africa

On April 9, 2019, Israel entered into early legislative elections to elect the 120 members of the 21st Knesset. Over 10,000 polling stations were thrown open to the public between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time (4 a.m. to 7 p.m. UTC).

Knesset elections had been due in November 2019 but were brought forward following a dispute between members of the current government over a bill on national service for the ultra-Orthodox population, as well as impending corruption charges against incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Israel watchers are predicting that this particular election could end Netanyahu’s 10-year uninterrupted run as prime minister. Or if he gets re-elected, virtually making him Israel’s longest-ever serving leader by surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion's tenure.

Despite the claims made by the supporters of Netanyahu with respect to having an effective safe environment for Israeli citizens and at the same time enjoying a booming economy - the incumbent leader might get upset with the poll results due to corruption cases against him and by ex-IDF chief General Benny Gantz who entered into the election as a strong contender.

Most importantly, Benny Gantz, the son of a Holocaust survivor and a career army man with no previous political experience, founded a new party, Israel Resilience Party (חוסן לישראל / Hosen L'Yisrael), for the election, and combined it with the centrist Yesh Atid party headed by veteran politician and  ex-finance minister Yair Lapid to form the center-left Blue and White list.

In his first campaign speech on January 29, 2019, Gantz described Israel as "a leading high-tech country with a low-tech government that is self-employed". Since then he has been actively vocal against Netanyahu's policies — both domestic and international — on all type of campaigning platforms.

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Israel's Channel 13 published its final exit poll before the start of the election showed the Likud party and Blue and White list - each gaining 28 seats. 

Last Thursday, Channel 12 released a poll in which respondents were asked who they would prefer to see as prime minister: 37 percent answered Netanyahu and 35 percent said Gantz.

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu's right-wing bloc would win 66 Knesset seats with Israel's centre-left parties winning 54. The post-poll coalition formation will be decisive.

For much of the campaign, the Israel Resilience Party has out-polled Netanyahu’s Likud party. Latest polls give Likud the upper hand, but there are questions about their reliability and Gantz is still seen as a possible victor.

This is a developing story.