At 10 PM local time voting polls across Israel will close and immediately thereafter, the official exit polls will be made public. Since 7 o’clock this morning, millions of Israelis flocked to voting stations to cast their ballots for Jerusalem’s future leadership.
According to the last projection polls, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz are running neck-and-neck, stimulating a higher-voter turnout than in previous years. Israeli voter Avi Gur said: “Very excited about it. I hope that the right person will win. And that’s it.”
Several hours before the election polls opened this morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to the Western Wall, which is part of an antient outer wall – built by King Herod the Great in 37 Before Christ – as part of his project to renovate the Second biblical Temple. After making a short prayer-stop, Netanyahu left the compound to the sound of cheers from Israeli bystanders.
Meanwhile in central Israel this morning, the country’s former Military chief Benny Gantz and his wife Revital casted their ballots in their home town of Rosh Ha’Ayin. Gantz declared the day to be a day of hope and unity, and called on all his supporters to respect the democratic process. “This is a day of hope, this is a day of unity, I look into everyone’s eyes and know that we can achieve, that we can unite. I’m glad to volunteer myself for the best interest of Israel’s citizens that chose to embark on a new journey. We will respect the democracy, and call for a respectful and quiet day to all our teams and wish good luck,” ‘Blue and White’ Chairman said.
Among the many newer and older parties contending for seats in Israel’s 21st Knesset, is former Likud member Moshe Feiglin’s faction. Feiglin was ousted from the ruling-party after failing to challenge Prime Minister Netanyahu in the Likud primary. After abandoning the Likud, Feiglin formed a new party called ‘Zehut’ – the Hebrew word for Identity – which according to the latest polls, is expected to attain at least six mandates today, out of the 120-seat parliament. If this projection is realized, Netanyahu’s former rival will effectively attain the position of a so-called “Kingmaker.” That is why, Feiglin has already announced his conditions to both Netanyahu and Gantz, which include the legalization of Cannabis and the control of the Finance Ministry, where he aspires to cut corporate taxes and eliminate customs duties – among other openly declared capitalist ideals.
Furthermore, Feiglin is the most vocal advocate for asserting control over the entirety of biblical Israel, including the construction of a new Temple, on the location where both biblical Temples once stood. In his words: “We will turn the awareness revolution we introduced to the people of Israel, turn it from an awareness revolution to a political revolution. It’s not going to be simple change of heads at the Knesset, more change of heads at the Knesset. It’s going to be the revolution of liberty. It will be the beginning of realizing the ideal of liberty.” / “This liberty is a condition for ‘Tikun Olam’ (making the world better), a condition for, when the time comes, the entire people of Israel will build, as one person, in one heart, the Temple.”
“We will turn the awareness revolution we introduced to the people of Israel, turn it from an awareness revolution to a political revolution. It’s not going to be simple change of heads at the Knesset, more change of heads at the Knesset. It’s going to be the revolution of liberty. It will be the beginning of realizing the ideal of liberty.” / “This liberty is a condition for ‘Tikun Olam’ (making the world better), a condition for, when the time comes, the entire people of Israel will build, as one person, in one heart, the Temple.”
When asked whether he would reject the establishment of a Palestinians state alongside Israel, due to speculation that the anticipated American initiative dubbed “the deal of the century” will entail such a demand, Feiglin insisted that his one-state plan is the just solution. He stressed that the land of Israel is earmarked by God for the descendance of Isaac and Jacob – not the descendants of Ishmael – the half bother of Isaac who is believed to be the forefather of all Arabs, including Palestinians. He said: “My solution is justice because it is the land of Israel, not the land of Yishmael (referring to Palestinians) or the land of I don’t know what. It’s the land of the Jewish people.”
It is important to note that both Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White are already courting Feiglin for his support. According to a political analyst, Netanyahu’s last-minute election promise to assert Israel’s sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, which are two out of the three districts of the West Bank, was intended to signal Likud’s willingness to align itself with Feiglin’s declared political-aspirations.