5.8 out of Israel’s 8.9 million citizens are set to vote in the country’s Parliamentary elections tomorrow. Polls are scheduled to open across the country at 7 a.m., and will remain open until 10 p.m. According to data published by the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics, 13% of the 5.8 million eligible voters are aged 18-24, 30% are 25-39, 32% between 40 and 59, and those above the age of 60 number about 25%.
The CBS Statistics further noted that 79%t of eligible Israeli voters are classified as Jewish; 16% Muslim, Christians and Druze; and 5% are non-Arab Christians, citizens with no religious-status, and other ethnic minorities.
15 out of the 39 competing political parties are considered viable candidates to pass the electoral threshold of 3.25%. The two main contenders are the ruling-Likud faction headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Blue and White bloc chaired by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. In a last official survey published by Israel’s Democracy Institute, most Israelis above the age of 45 favor General Gantz, while the vast majority under 45 remain staunch supporters of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
It is important to note that all pre-election‘ polls predict a neck-and-neck race between the two men. That said, pre-election polls in Israel customarily indicate only general trends, rather than accurate variables.
In final efforts to garner additional support, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared his intention to annex parts of Judea and Samaria, which are the Biblical names of two out of three districts of the West Bank. In an interview to Israel’s Channel 12 News, the premier stressed his government has discussed the question of asserting sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the disputed territories. He insisted those discussions laid the groundwork for concrete actions that would be realized if he was re-elected.
Palestinian leaders responded with anger to Netanyahu’s last-minute pre-election promise. While speaking on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa that concluded in Israel’s eastern neighbor Jordan yesterday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki claimed he wasn’t surprised by the Israeli leader’s statements, allegedly bolstered by adamant support for the Jewish State by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump on all diplomatic, security and political levels.