Israel will hold parliamentary elections Tuesday that are largely a referendum on the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The country has seen a decade under Netanyahu. It’s been a time of dramatic economic growth, sporadic conflict with neighbors and the formation of what is probably the most solidly right-wing coalition in Israel’s history.
Netanyahu, who has an edge in most polls, has allied closely with President Trump and attracted increased criticism from left-wing Americans and even pro-Israel organizations.
He was prime minister for three years in the 1990s, was elected again in 2009 and won re-election twice. With another victory now, he could — this summer — pass David Ben-Gurion as the longest-serving Israeli premier.
Support comes from
Netanyahu’s main challenger is retired Gen. Benny Gantz. New to politics, he has positioned himself as a centrist alternative to Netanyahu. He heads a new party cobbled together with former senior officers ranging from the center to the right. If he wins enough seats to form a government, it’s conceivable that he could form a ruling coalition with the center-left Labor Party as well as with right-wing parties.
How it works
The country’s 6.3 million registered voters are choosing the 120 lawmakers in the parliament, or Knesset. There are about a dozen main candidate lists to choose from, made of single parties or groups of parties. There are some 30 other lists, too. So the new government will be chosen as parties form coalitions and make deals with each other.
Israel’s president sets that process in motion by choosing a candidate with the best chance of gathering the 61 seats for a majority