Roughly 6.3 million Israelis are expected to cast their ballots today in an election that will have serious implications for the legacy of incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for Palestinians, and for Israel’s relationship with the rest of the Middle East.
Netanyahu faces his toughest challenge yet after months of being dogged by corruption and bribery allegations. His top competitor Benny Gantz, a former army general, who leads a center-left coalition. If Netanyahu wins — and polls are currently giving him a lead, though it remains close — the 69-year-old will become the longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history.
The 2019 election campaign was marked by scandals and mudslinging; Netanyahu’s Likud party, in one example, edited a TV interview of Gantz to frame him as mentally unstable, while Gantz has painted Netanyahu as a corrupt traitor who sold his country out for money. Likud also leaked that Iranian hackers had compromised Gantz’s cell phone and found incriminating information including that of an alleged mistress.
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