Mon. Nov 28th, 2022
Netanyahu seeks re-election at

“Is Netanyahu coming back?” At the entrance to Jerusalem’s busy Mahane Yehuda Market, I inquire about a Likud party volunteer raising a giant banner.

She responds affirmatively as a passerby gives the thumbs up.

Final surveys on Friday revealed that Benjamin Netanyahu, the previous right-wing prime minister of Israel, might fall one seat short of a majority in his bid to return to the office.

On Tuesday, Israelis will vote in their sixth election in less than four years.

Netanyahu seeks re-election at the Israeli election.

Since 2019, when its longest-serving leader was accused of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, which he denies, the nation has been mired in an unparalleled period of political paralysis.

Midway through 2021, Mr. Netanyahu was ousted from the government after centrist politician Yair Lapid assembled a coalition of liberal, right-wing, and Arab parties unified in opposing him.

The administration withstood many people’s expectations but disintegrated in June.

Mr. Lapid is now the interim prime minister and Mr. Netanyahu’s chief rival as he seeks a record sixth term in government.

A pact between Likud and the far-right Religious Zionist party, whose popularity has soared, provides the former prime minister an advantage in this election.

Its founders, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich are overtly racist Jews. The former was also a supporter of the late, blatantly racist, ultra-nationalist Meir Kahane, whose organization was designated a terrorist organization by the United States Department of State.

Israel’s foreign supporters may face difficulties if they successfully forge a new coalition government.

However, there is considerable support for this line-up among market shoppers.

Tehila, a woman with a stroller, informs me, “Other nations, such as Europe and the United States, primarily consider economic factors.” “We want a prime minister who can defend our security. I believe Netanyahu is such person.”

Jonathan supports Religious Zionism and is hopeful about the outcome of this vote.

“This time, there is less disagreement on the right,” he adds, stressing that the left-leaning Meretz party and the fragmented Arab parties are at risk of falling short of the election threshold.

“I’m hoping they don’t pass so that the right wing can genuinely form a stable administration.”

Several surveys conducted by Israel’s leading television networks and aired at the end of last week suggested that the Netanyahu alliance, which includes the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, would win 60 of the 120 seats in parliament.

Netanyahu seeks re-election at the Israeli

They anticipated that the anti-Netanyahu group would get 56 seats while the Arab-led Hadash-Taal alliance, which has ruled out entering a government, would win four.

In the run-up to this election, Yair Lapid, the head of what seems to be the second-largest party, Yesh Atid (There is a Future), has sought to project an image of a prime minister.

Commentators believe that during his last four months in power, he has avoided blunders despite receiving US Vice President Joe Biden, leading a three-day bombing of Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza, and completing a maritime boundary agreement with hostile neighbor Lebanon.

Etty, an additional shopper at Mahane Yehuda, adds, “I’m voting for Lapid because I’ve enjoyed what he’s done thus far.” “He ought to remain as prime minister. We must give him another opportunity since Netanyahu wasted 12 years in office.”

This election seems to be a referendum on Mr. Netanyahu rather than a decision on Israel’s most pressing security and diplomatic challenges, such as Iran’s nuclear aspirations and the dispute with the Palestinians.

This is the case despite an uptick in lethal violence in the occupied West Bank before election day.

Israel assassinated three leaders of a new Palestinian armed organization known as the Lion’s Den in Nablus last week. On Saturday, a Palestinian gunman murdered one Israeli in the Jewish community where Mr. Ben-Gvir resides before being slain by a security officer.

“The usual division between the left and the right, which used to revolve around the Palestinian problem, has been halted due to the battle between the ‘Yes’ and ‘No Bibi’ camps,” says Tal Shalev, chief political reporter for Walla! News.

Netanyahu seeks re-election at the

She observes that the present leader of the opposition appeared to be in the most vital position entering this poll.

“Netanyahu is in a far stronger mathematical position than Lapid; his center-left alliance is considerably more fractured,” she argues. “What will turnout be like? That is the $1 million question.”

Allies observing
With so much at risk, voter participation in 2021 has stayed reasonably high at 67.4%. Last year, however, just 44.6% of Israeli Arabs or Palestinian residents voted, constituting almost one-fifth of the population.

The possibility of Mr. Ben-Gvir joining the cabinet, when he has previously advocated removing “disloyal” Arab nationals, is anticipated to have little impact on the outcome of this vote.

Critics of Mr. Netanyahu express fear that if his group wins, ultra-nationalist presence in a new government might strain relationships with Western nations, Arab nations with whom Israel has recently established relations, and the Palestinians.

Polls indicate that Israel’s extreme right is gaining support as elections approach.

They are also concerned that it will pressure Israel’s judicial system to avoid Mr. Netanyahu’s conviction.

Due to the closeness of the vote, it is doubtful that the outcome of the most recent vote will be evident quickly.

And following previous years’ experience, few Israeli observers are willing to rule out the possibility of another stalemate, which might result in another election.

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