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November 1, 2022 1:35 pm
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Israeli Election 2022: More Than 60% of Israelis Go to the Polls, Set for Highest Turnout Since 1999

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his wife Lihi cast their vote in Tel Aviv. Credit: Amos Ben Gershom (GPO)

More than 60 percent of eligible voters on Tuesday cast their ballots in Israel’s election three hours before polling stations close, set for the highest turnout the country has recorded since 1999.

As of 7 p.m., 62.5 percent of the eligible public have voted as Israelis cast their ballots in the country’s fifth election in three and a half years, according to the Central Elections Committee. Polling stations across Israel opened at 7 a.m. and will close tonight at 10 p.m.

Election day in Israel is a day off, while many shops, restaurants and cafes decide to stay open. Final opinion polls published on Friday showed an almost 60-60 tie in seats between the right-wing bloc led by opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s center-left bloc. As such, neither Netanyahu’s Likud party nor Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is likely to win a majority of 61 seats on their own and will need the support of smaller political parties to build prospective coalitions needed to form a government in the 120-seat Knesset.

As Lapid and his wife Lihi casted their vote on Tuesday morning in Tel Aviv he asked Israeli citizens to vote “wisely.”

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“Vote for the State of Israel, the future of our children and our future in general,” Lapid stated.

Campaigning around a few Israeli cities, former premier Netanyahu encouraged supporters to go out and vote as he warned about a “low turnout in Likud strongholds.”

“Your voice is decisive,” Netanyahu remarked. “We are currently in a 60-60 tie (…) I am a little bit worried, but I hope that we will end the day with a smile.”

At the ballot box in Jerusalem, President Isaac Herzog reminded Israelis that each vote has an impact and makes a difference.

“Millions of voters will go out today to vote and decide as to the future and direction of our nation,” Herzog said. “This is a thriving democracy with a multitude of voices.”

“We should always respect this enormous right that we have, as there are so many nations and billions of human beings who unfortunately do not enjoy this right,” he added.

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