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Israel’s Election Under Way; The Netanyahu Legacy at Stake

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is arguably one of the most recognizable heads of government in the world. At home, the current generation grew up with Netanyahu at the helm of government and world-wide, few leaders can boast the level of name and face recognition the Israeli premier enjoys. Despite the closeness of the race and the real possibility of his reign coming to an end, Netanyahu’s record of leadership is the envy of many. Relied upon by the Israeli populace as its protector, it’s taken an opposing party comprised of three former army chiefs-of-staff sitting in the first four seats to present the first serious challenge for control of the government, but even as the nation flocks to their voting stations, pollsters are unable to pin down a solid prediction. Jockeying for cabinet posts was underway in earnest long before ballots were being placed in sealed envelopes and dropped in collection boxes. Naftali Bennett is determined to move from the education ministry to the army headquarters to serve as defense minister, but former minister Avigdor Lieberman has a similar thought. Both men are expected to have about the same number of seats in parliament to use as payment for the appointment, other parties lining up to do the same with other posts. Netanyahu’s current finance minister wants to keep his job but polls indicate he’ll have very little collateral to bargain with this time around. What to watch for:  voting will be complete by Tuesday night, but the number of seats each of some 40 parties on the ballot will walk away with might take a day or more to confirm.