| 1 March 2024, Friday |

Israelis begin voting as Benjamin Netanyahu and Yair Lapid vie for premiership

For determining the 25th Knesset, Israelis turned out in large numbers for the fifth general election in less than four years on Tuesday.
The polling stations opened at 5 am (GMT), with Israelis given until 8 pm (GMT) to cast their ballot
The latest election follows the collapse of the coalition government headed by Caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who was successful in ousting Benjamin Netanyahu last year.
Tuesday’s vote is being be held in the wake of soaring violence across Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
Several opinion polls prior to the Tuesday voting showed right-wing Likud Party head Netanyahu leading by a slender margin.
Polls by local channels have predicted the Netanyahu-led bloc to get 60 seats, one short of a majority in the 120-member Knesset.
All the surveys found Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s current coalition partners together garnering 56 seats, with the Arab-majority Hadash-Ta’al faction forecast to receive four mandates, reports AFP news agency.
A day prior to the voting, Lapid made one last pitch to sway the voters in his favour saying, that they will “continue” what they have “begun” and predicted, “We’ll win these elections the only way we know — by working harder than everyone else.”
On the other hand, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption and breach of trust, while addressing party members recently said that only he was capable of keeping the country safe.

“I ask you to go to all of your friends, all of your neighbours, all of your relatives, and tell them that nobody stays home,” the 73-year-old known as Bibi said.

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