For Israelis, It’s Back to the Ballot
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, vote in Jerusalem on March 23, 2021. (GPO)

For Israelis, It’s Back to the Ballot

Mocking the frequency of Israel’s elections with a nod to the 1969 film If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, one local began the day by chiding his friends that: “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Election Day.” Not only is Tuesday’s balloting the fourth election in two years, but more than a few pundits are predicting that, because they don’t see any contender with a clear path to a coalition of 61 of the 120 parliamentary seats, election number five is around the corner. What is not expected is any significant showing by a left-wing party, all of which had imploded several elections ago. In the center ring is long-time incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu seeking to maintain his grasp on the prime ministry he has held since 2009. Two of the three strongest opponents are previous Netanyahu allies, giving substance to the belief that with or without “Bibi,” as Netanyahu is known, the new government’s policies will not be noticeable to the public. Reminiscent of the recent electoral cycle in the United States, a strong “anybody but Bibi” element exists, but the numbers predicted by all of the polling organizations fail to add up to enough strength for a center-left or left-wing party to form the government. Hindered by his corruption trial that currently is underway, Netanyahu has run a campaign extolling his success in vaccinating the nation against COVID-19 and taking credit for the historic normalization agreements with four Arab nations.

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