Election Day – Israelis vote for 22nd Knesset
🗳️ Israeli voters began casting ballots for the second time in less than six months after PM Netanyahu, who is hoping for an unprecedented 5th term in office, failed to form a coalition government after the April ballot.
The Central Election Committee has deployed 3,000 election monitors, most of whom will be outfitted with body cameras, to document any irregularities in an effort for transparency.
These new measures will cause a significant delay in reporting the final results.
Polling stations opened at 7 am local time, with exit polls expected at the end of the voting day, at 10 pm. Some 6.4 million eligible voters will be able to cast their ballots at more than 10,000 stations, some 200 of them located in hospitals and over 50 in prisons.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrived at their Jerusalem polling station to cast their vote.
“Go to the beach after you vote,” Netanyahu said. “Bring your neighbors. Bring your children. Bring your friends. Bring everyone, the whole road, and vote Mahal because otherwise, we receive Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid as prime ministers. Gantz said yesterday that he would actualize the policies of Meretz and Labor. I know you don’t want this.”
President Reuven Rivlin cast his vote at the Yaffe Nof school in the Beit HaKerem neighborhood of Jerusalem.
“This is an important day for Israeli democracy, and a holiday for it,” the president told reporters. “It is important to understand that the president and the party leaders do not decide who will be Prime Minister or who will form the government – only the voters do. So it is important to say that you need to take part in our democracy, you need to vote and have influence,” President Rivlin said.
The head of the Blue and White Party Benny Gantz voted close to his home in Rosh Haayin, near Tel Aviv.
Avigdor Liberman, the leader of the right-wing, secular Yisrael Beytenu party voted with his wife at his home in the Jewish community of Nokdim.
Leader of the right-wing Yamina Party, Ayelet Shaked arrived at her polling station in Tel Aviv with husband and their two children.
Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz voted in the city of Sderot, near the Gaza border.