Israel holds what could be a historic election on Tuesday, with 69-year-old Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has led Israel’s government since 2009, facing what polls say, per the JTA, is the toughest political challenge he has faced yet.
Scroll down this page for links to live text and video coverage of the 2019 Israeli election.
Netanyahu’s challenger is 59-year-old Benny Gantz, the man who answered to Netanyahu from 2011 to 2015 as the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Israel’s military. While Netanyahu leads the right-wing Likud Party, Gantz is leader of the Kahol Lavan, or “Blue and White” party, which represents a “center-left” political ideology, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
But in Israel, elections are never won by an electoral majority and dozens of parties compete for votes. Winning depends on which party can assemble a coalition to hold more than half of the 120 seats in Israel’s legislature, the Knesset, as YNet News explained.
That means even candidates who can command only a small, but significant, amount of support from voters can often play a major role in determining who takes control of the Israeli government. In this election, there is one far right-wing candidate who, according to The New York Times, could play “kingmaker.”
Zehut Party leader Moshe Feiglin, who takes a hardline position in Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians, is advocating a “one state” solution in which Israel would simply take over the West Bank and Gaza and offer Palestinians financial incentives to move elsewhere. But Feiglin also supports legalization of marijuana and a free-market, mostly unregulated economy. Those latter views have drawn him support from disaffected voters.
The only English-language live streaming video coverage out of Israel will be i24 News, which requires a subscription fee, but also comes with a free trial period that should allow viewers to watch the 2019 Israeli election coverage live at no charge.
But the French news channel France24 also offers live, 24 international news in English and is providing thorough coverage of the Israeli election results as they become available. See the France24 live stream in the video below.
Polls open at 8 a.m. Israel Daylight Time on April 9 and close at 10 p.m., per i24 News. In the United States, that’s an opening of 1 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 p.m. on Monday Pacific Time. In the United Kingdom, the opening time is 6 a.m. British Summer Time.
Converted into United States times, the polls close at 3 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, noon Pacific. In the United Kingdom, the Israeli poll closing time will be 8 p.m.
Though soldiers in Israel’s armed forces are allowed to vote 72 hours in advance of the election, Israel does not permit absentee balloting. There are about 5.8 million voters eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Israeli election, according to YNet.