ISRAEL, November 1, 2022– the polls all predicts a virtual tie between the pro- and anti-Netanyahu blocs, and have been saying so for the past four months, but also because of the number of small parties – both above and below the electoral threshold – whose individual results could dramatically change the overall picture. Polls project that Netanyahu’s bloc has the majority in parliament.
Usually, after three or fours hours of counting, there are enough actual results to update the exit polls and obtain a more or less accurate indication of the outcome. However, given the number of close calls and anticipated challenges to the results, it could take a bit longer this time.
Despite being perilously close to the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent, Labor, Meretz, Yisrael Beiteinu, Hadash-Ta’al and the United Arab List have a solid-enough base to ensure that they cross the threshold and win at least four Knesset seats each.
Ayelet Shaked’s Habayit Hayehudi and the third component of the former Joint List, Balad, are polling at around 2 percent and have not crossed the electoral threshold in any poll.
In the last election, March 2021 there were two right-wing parties running that were opposed to Netanyahu: Naftali Bennett’s Yamina and Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope. These parties, which received a combined total of 13 seats, are not running separately in this election (Yamina has dissolved and New Hope signed up with Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party). According to the pollsters, most of the votes for these two parties will now be going to the four pro-Netanyahu parties (Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Religious Zionism). In 2021, this bloc received a total of 53 seats and is currently polling at between 59 to 62 seats.
Over 12,000 polling stations opened across the country on Tuesday morning to allow around 6.8 million eligible Israeli voters to cast their ballots, as the nation went to the polls for the fifth time in under four years.
Central Elections Committee director general Orly Ades announced that as of 4 p.m., some 47.5 percent of eligible voters had voted, the highest figure at that time point seen since 1999.
In comparison, 42.3% of the public had voted by this time in the last election, held in March 2021.
But the voting process wasn’t going smoothly everywhere. In Beit Shemesh, a polling station was closed and moved to a new location after extremists sprayed a foul-smelling liquid in an apparent attempt to discourage voters.
Elsewhere, leaders of the majority of political parties voted, while encouraging citizens to exercise their democratic right.
President Isaac Herzog, voting in Jerusalem, said that every voting slip would make an impact.
“It is an enormous privilege to participate in the process of free, clean and equal elections. Billions of people around the world do not enjoy this privilege,” he said.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, all votes have an impact. Anyone who thinks his or her vote does not matter is wrong,” Herzog added.
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu cast his ballot in Jerusalem, accompanied by his wife, Sara, and urged everyone to exercise their “great privilege.”
The opposition leader claimed to be worried about a high turnout in “left-wing” areas, but said he hoped to “end the day with a smile.”
Most surveys in recent days gave the Netanyahu-led bloc 60 seats, meaning the smallest shift in favor of the opposition leader could enable him to form a coalition and return to power, with the support of the far-right Religious Zionism party and the two Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism.
Source: The Times of Israel contributed to the article.