Israel election updates.  Netanyahu hopes to return to power

Israel election updates. Netanyahu hopes to return to power

Israel election updates. Netanyahu hopes to return to power

Credit…By Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times

Israel’s electorate may be experiencing back-to-back elections and is sharply divided between camps supporting and opposing Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, who was ousted last year. However, by election day, many Israelis were still unsure which of the 40 registered parties to vote for.

“Actually, I felt very, very confused this morning,” said Michal Kushar, 38, who is voting in the suburban community of Zur Hadassah near Jerusalem. In the end, he said he voted for Ayelet Shaked, the leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, even though recent polls showed it was unlikely to pass the 3.25 percent threshold required. to enter the parliament of any party.

“I didn’t do it wholeheartedly, and I’m not sure it was really what I wanted,” Ms Cushar said. “I would like a woman to become prime minister, and I believe in Ayelet Shakedi, but I know it won’t happen.”

In such a close-fought election, where the gain or loss of a single parliamentary mandate can fundamentally affect the outcome, pre-election strategists from both camps are concerned about the votes given to smaller parties that will not pass the threshold, as well as the uncertainties created by undecided voters.

Some voters cast what they say was a “tactical” ballot to boost the bloc they supported, going with their heads rather than their hearts.

Dr. Idan Yaron, 67, a sociologist and anthropologist who specializes in right-wing ideology and extremism in Israel, said he voted for Meretz, the left-wing party hovering just before the election threshold, “to strengthen the smaller parties and the left alliance.”

Tomer Cohen, 46, a bus driver who supports far-right, ultra-nationalist politician Itamar Ben-Gvir and his Jewish Power party, listed national security and Jewish identity as his top concerns.

“I want a Jewish state, not a state of all its citizens,” he said, using a phrase that is a common refrain for many of Israel’s Arab politicians.

Voter Hadiel Zatmi, 25, a Palestinian citizen of Israel in the northern town of Nazareth, said he was so frustrated by the infighting between Arab parties, among other things, that he had seriously considered boycotting the election. But in the end, he said he voted for the mostly Arab, left-wing Hadash-Ta’al because “our existence in the Knesset is important,” referring to Israel’s parliament.

Avi Algrabli, 37, a Netanyahu supporter in Jerusalem who runs a construction equipment company, says he still prefers the former prime minister to everyone else. Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing base has remained largely loyal despite, or even because of, his corruption trial, which many of them see as a conspiracy orchestrated by the liberal deep state.

Illustrating the deep polarization plaguing Israeli society, Mr. Algrabl said Yair Lapid, the current prime minister and leader of the anti-Netanyahu alliance, “went with the supporters of terror,” referring to the small Islamist party, Ra’am, that broke the record. taboo by joining the last government coalition.

Voters participated, despite election fatigue, mainly out of the awareness of fulfilling their democratic right and duty.

“I’m so tired of elections,” said Tehillah Puterman, 40, a centrist voter. Pointing to her daughter, who was with her at the polling station, Mrs Putterman added: “This is his fourth election, and he only. 5”.

More than anything, some voters hoped for an end to the political turmoil.

“I always hope that whoever I vote for will win,” said Hannah Solodoch, 67, from Rehovot in central Israel. “But that doesn’t always happen, and it’s not my main concern right now.”

“The atmosphere in the country is full of provocations and instability, and it needs to end,” he said, adding that “we need a final result.”

The report has been completed Mira Novek, Irit Pazner from Garshov, Gabby Sobelman and: Wrong Yazbek.

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