UPDATED @ 12:30pm Eastern: Israel is holding national elections today, choosing leaders to handle enormously difficult challenges — Iran, Syria, Egypt, the Palestinian conflict. Please pray that the Lord would raise up leaders like the sons of Isaachar, “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (1 Chronicles 12:32)
More than 5.6 million Israelis — Jews and Arabs — are eligible to go to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots for the 19th Knesset (parliament). With the left-wing parties deeply divided, the center-right Likud-Beitenu party is expected to win a significant victory, somewhere between 30 and 40 seats (out of 120). The second closest party will likely win fewer than 20 seats. Netanyahu, therefore, is likely to reemerge as Prime Minister, unless something dramatic and unexpected happens.
The real drama surrounds what kind of coalition government Netanyahu will build to lead Israel in 2013 and beyond, and who will emerge as key members of his government. I’ll keep you posted on the election results as they come in. Then, in the days ahead, we’ll analyze what they mean for Israelis, Palestinians, Iran, and allies of the Jewish State like the U.S.
- UPDATE: “The 2013 election continues to break voter turnout records,” reports Ynet News. “Polling stations are struggling to keep up with the flow of voters. The Central Elections Committee reported a high voter turnout compared to the same time at the past four election campaigns. The Central Elections Committee said that 55.5% of eligible voters have cast their ballots as of 6 pm, compared with 50.3% in the 2009 elections. Voting will continue until 10 pm.”
- NEW: Ahead of Israel Elections, Left Tries to Spin Netanyahu Victory — analysis by Allen Roth
- Record voter turnout (up 11% compared to 2009) as of 4pm local in Israel (9am eastern) — almost half of eligible voters have already voted (Times of Israel)
- Netanyahu, Likud concerned about low turnout of their voters — will these voters turnout before polling ends at 10pm local time (3pm eastern) — Jerusalem Post?
- Election junkies can follow results online in real-time (Israel Hayom)
- Netanyahu plays J’lem card on campaign’s final day
- Would-be Member of Knesset says he was joking about ‘blowing’ the Dome of the Rock and building the Third Temple
- Who is Naftali Bennett & why is his party climbing so fast in the Israeli polls?
- With elections fast approaching, will this man be Israel’s next Defense Minister?