1. ELECTION-EVE POLLS MARKED BY DIFFERENCES… After presenting a largely uniform picture of public opinion during the months leading up to Tuesday’s Israeli election, election-eve polls are notable for the widest discrepancies seen so far. Experts see the divergences by various polling organizations as indicative of a strong undecided vote and the potential for possibly unexpected results. The most blaring example was the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party headed by Russian expatriate Avigdor Lieberman which one poll saw as surging past Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party into the number three spot with fifteen seats, while another predicted a three-seat loss, down to seven seats. The Labor Party had, in recent days, been seen as gaining strength, but polls were several seats apart on the respective predictions. Israeli election law forbids the publication of any further polling information until after the polls have closed on election day. Experts agree that the pre-election story is a 22-percent undecided vote that translates into 28 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The ruling party will have to piece together a majority of 61 seats in order to lead the country.
2. ISRAELIS KILL PALESTINIAN AS HE’S FIRING ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADE… Israeli forces fired at three Palestinians they say were in the act of launching rocket-propelled grenades from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel on Monday. One gunman was killed and the other two were wounded, according to Israeli sources. All three were said to belong to Islamic Jihad. Earlier on Monday, Israeli troops failed in an attempt to kill members of the Al-Aq’sa Martyrs Brigades as they traveled in a car in Gaza City. Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at the vehicle, but it resulted only in what witnesses called a “small blast” that caused little damage to the car. Israel’s military confirmed the failed assassination attempt.
3. ELECTION DAY WILL COST ISRAELI BUSINESS OWNERS $235 MILLION… Israelis who work on election day are entitled to receive either double pay or an additional day added to their vacation time. So according to Israel’s Manufacturers’ Association, the cost of election day to employers nationwide is estimated to be $235 million. According to Globes financial newspaper, that amount is almost offset by the 200 percent increase in trade and services that will transpire on election day – about $214 million according to The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. The newspaper cites the Manufacturers’ Association as reporting that many factories negotiate election day schedules with employees that include time-off for voting.
4. NEW PALESTINIAN PM REJECTS INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC PRESSURE… The Palestinian Authority’s new prime minister has told the parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council, that, “Those who believe that economic pressures will force our government into submission are wrong.” Isma’il Haniyya said the Palestinian people should “not be punished for choosing their leadership in free and democratic elections.” Haniyya was referring to threats by donor nations to end financial support for the P.A. if Hamas, its ruling faction, does not recognize Israel and forswear violence. The P.A. has, reportedly, still not paid February salaries to its workers. Haniyya promised to set up a transparent system for donors to keep tabs on how money is spent in answer to fears that donor funding would be used to support terror.