Israel Election, vote count to be delayed due to pandemic regulations

Israelis head to the polls for an unprecedented fourth general election in two years. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud remains the largest party in public opinion polls, he could still be short of a Knesset majority. With four parties flirting with the electoral threshold, the final hours of the campaign could be crucial in deciding the fate of Israel’s political future, with many not discounting the possibility of a fifth election.

Public opinion polls forecast a tight race between those who support Israel’s longest-serving premier and those who want “anyone but Bibi,” as he is widely known. Facing an electorate worn down by a series of campaigns and the coronavirus pandemic, candidates made their final push in recent days with a series of TV interviews and public appearances at shopping malls and outdoor marketplaces. Mr. Netanyahu has portrayed himself as a global statesman uniquely qualified to lead the country through its many security and diplomatic challenges. He has made Israel’s successful coronavirus-vaccination campaign the centerpiece of his reelection bid, and pointed to last year’s diplomatic agreements with four Arab states.