Israeli elections near close with low Arab participation and panic notes from PM Netanyahu
Just three hours before polling stations close in Israel at 22:00 Israel time (5 PM EDT) there are few surprises. The overall participation rate, currently at 43% is just slightly less than that in the previous elections in 2015, with the notable exception being the Arab sector, where significantly lower percentages are reported. Outside of the normal kvetching by all parties about things like running out of their party’s paper ballots, no incidents have been recorded.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is engaging in a rather panicky Twitter storm, announcing to his supporters that unless they show up to vote he and the Likud will lose and Israel will get a left-wing coalition supported by Arab members of the Knesset. Netanyahu assured his voters that voting participation in traditional Likud strongholds was low, while that in opposition strongholds was high. Whether these dispatches are based on inside information that is available only to him or represent a last minute effort to do everything possible to ensure a victory is unknown at this time.