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Israel Holds Second Set of Elections In Six Months

By: Politicized News

· Global Affairs

Polls opened today in Israel at 7 am local time (midnight Monday EST) with Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud fighting for power. The Likud is neck and neck with the center-left Blue and White party, who have been gradually gaining more and more support in the past months. According to the Israeli election committee, at 10 am local, the voting rate was the highest its been in 30 years, and all polls have been too close to call. 

If Israel had elections in April, why are they having them again?

Here's some historical context: the last round of Israeli elections were held in April, just six months ago. However, Netanyahu and his party were unable to create a coalition - a majority formed by like-minded members of parliament from different parties - which left Netenyahu the most seats, but without a majority of votes to get anything done, so they were forced to hold new elections. 

The Elections:
After Netanyahu was forced to call new elections, he immediately got back on the election trail, this time trying to appeal to his far-right base. More recently, Netanyahu promised that if elected, he would annex 30% of the West Bank, a policy that many right-wing supporters in Israel are for. However, the opposition argued that this move would render a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel geographically undoable, and absolutely demolish peace efforts. •
Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White party, said Tuesday that a vote for his party was a vote for change. "Today, we are voting for change. We will succeed in bringing hope, all of us together, without corruption and without extremism." Gantz has repeatedly accused Netenyahu of eroding Israeli democracy, and some analysts agree. "I think there actually is a pretty decent argument to be made that this actually is one of Israel's most momentous elections," says Michael Koplow, policy director at the DC-based Israel Policy Forum think tank. "Netanyahu has steadily been doing things that really erode any sense of separation of powers inside Israel and that call the independence of different state institutions into question."

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