Israeli parties fight for every last vote ahead of Tuesday’s elections

Parties large and small thrash each other in the final stretch to Election Day.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

On Tuesday, Israelis head to the polls to elect the country’s 24th Knesset.  It will be the fourth election in less than two years, reflecting an ongoing crisis in which neither side of the political aisle can achieve a Knesset majority. Will one finally emerge victorious this time?

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party was pulling ahead according to the last poll (March 18) published by Kan News. The Likud rose to 31 seats, gaining two seats from a poll the week prior.

Ironically, the Likud fears the improving numbers will lead to indifference on Election Day, Channel 12 reports on Sunday, causing its supporters to remain at home. Netanyahu continues to hit the hustings to drum up voter enthusiasm.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party also continues to campaign until the last moment, though from a different motive. The center-left is weakening and now fears depression will keep supporters from coming out to the polls.

Two right-wing parties have slightly changed tactics in the final stretch, the site notes. Gideon Saar’s New Hope party and Naftali Bennett’s Yemina party, which had focused their fire on Netanyahu and the Likud, have turned on each other. Channel 12 surmises that the parties are encountering trouble peeling away Likud voters, which have shown themselves to be more loyal to Netanyahu than thought.

New Hope candidates attacked Yemina and Bennett on Monday. They said Yemina would join with Netanyahu and the Likud to form a government. Both parties have been promising to replace a Netanyahu-led government.

Bennett in turn attacked New Hope, saying the party is in trouble.

“Gideon Sa’ar is declining rapidly, there is doubt whether he will pass the electoral threshold, he is at 5-6 seats,” Bennett said.

On the far-left, Meretz is said to be struggling. The party had relied on support from Arab-Israelis in the past, but with the rise of a potent Arab bloc in the form of the Joint List party, Meretz has become less appealing to those supporters. It’s not clear if Meretz will pass the electoral threshold either.