Israel election: Voting opens in referendum on Netanyahu leadership

Israelis have begun voting in an unprecedented fourth election in two years that many see as a referendum on divisive longterm leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who hopes the country’s vaccine record will sweep him to victory.

But even as voters headed to the polling booths across the country they were bracing themselves for the spectre of a fifth extraordinary vote, as the last polls predicted yet another inconclusive result.

The final surveys released just a few days ago all indicated a tight and inconclusive race between the bloc that supports Mr Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, and those who are against him. They suggest neither will reach the 61-seat majority needed to form a government.

Polling stations opened at 7am (5am GMT) and will close at 10pm (8pm GMT), when exit polls will likely point to voting trends rather than a clear winner because of the tight race.

“I think this is just another reshuffling of the cards, again and again sitting at the same table not happy with the cards,” said Oded, 40, a frustrated voter in Tel Aviv who feared once again the results would be inconclusive but declined to say who he was voting for.

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