The Israeli elections are being viewed as a referendum on Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges


If Mr Netanyahu is re-elected, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a controversial politician who has been convicted of inciting racism and was once declared unfit for office by Mr Netanyahu himself, could be given a senior ministerial position.

Israelis are voting in general elections for the fifth time in less than four years, with the outcome uncertain and the prospect of additional elections looming.

The poll is being seen as a referendum on former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is Israel’s longest-serving leader and has been in power for 15 of the past 26 years but now finds himself in opposition.

Amid concerns about voter apathy, voter turnout will be critical.

Turnout in the most recent election was around 67%, compared to 71.5% in the previous election a year earlier.

The economy and security are two of the most important issues for Israelis heading into the election, especially in light of recent violence.

Mr Netanyahu is currently on trial on corruption charges, which has alienated many of his traditional political allies, prompting him to turn to far-right parties in an attempt to form a coalition.

If Mr Netanyahu is elected, it could see a senior ministerial post for Itamar Ben-Gvir, a controversial politician who has been convicted for incitement to racism and was once declared unfit for office by Mr Netanyahu himself.

Recently though, Mr Ben-Gvir has been courted by Mr Netanyahu, who is hoping to benefit from the ultranationalists’ growing appeal, particularly amongst young Israelis.

Israeli far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir holds up both hands in the ‘V for victory’ gesture from behind a podium at a news conference.

‘I’m going to mow you down.’

During recent violence in the district, he was seen brandishing a gun and shouting at Palestinians, saying: “I’m going to mowing you down. Remember, we’re the landlords here, and I’m your landlord.”

Mr. Ben-Gvir has repeatedly called for the deportation of “disloyal” Palestinians and referred to Arab politicians as “terrorists.”

Mr Ben-Gvir has regularly been at the centre of trouble in Jerusalem, and his temporary office in the disputed east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah has caused violent clashes.

The former television presenter and centrist politician is a well-known figure in Israel but his Yesh Atid party is currently lagging in the polls.

Whoever wins will likely find it hard to build a coalition capable of governing.

In the 120-seat Knesset, an outright majority requires 61 seats, which neither side has achieved in pre-election polling.

Another inconclusive election result could lead to protracted coalition talks and, possibly, a sixth election.

A large turnout could benefit Netanyahu’s opponents.

The election is taking place against the backdrop of rising violence in the West Bank. This year, at least 120 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed.

A large turnout among Israeli-Arabs could benefit Mr Netanyahu’s opponents.

The outgoing coalition includes an Arab party for the first time in Israeli political history, but their failure to deliver meaningful change or progress for Israeli-Arabs may result in low turnout among that group.

Although the winner is likely to be known late on Tuesday night, negotiations to form a coalition government could take many days, even weeks.

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