16:32 GMT02 December 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in closed-door meetings with his allies, a bloc of 55 right-wing party members, decided that upcoming elections will take place on 3 March 2020, Walla news reported.

    Israel's parliament, the Knesset, has three days left to put forward a candidate that will be tasked to form a government by the country's President Reuven Rivlin. Otherwise, the parliament will need to dissolve itself, prompting another general vote, the third in under one year.

    Too Tired to Vote

    Some Israelis are frustrated with the current situation.

    "I gave politicians two chances to give up on their ego, form a government and make a change. This time around I am not planning to waste my time and vote", said 40-year-old Vitaly Schatz, a police officer from the north.

    But not everyone agreed. Yael Ben-David, a pediatrician in her late thirties, says she's still planning to exercise her democratic right.

    "It is my obligation as a citizen of the country and I hope that this time around, we will manage to form a government".

    Ben-David is not alone. According to a poll by Israeli Channel 12, at least 62 percent of Israelis have expressed their will to cast a vote in the upcoming general elections, compared to the previous round, in which the turnout was 69 percent.

    Ben-David doesn't believe the political map will change much but hopes that the PM's supporters will change their mind following his indictment and vote for other candidates.

    In November, Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblitt announced he would indict the premier in a series of graft probes that include buying positive press and receiving illegal gifts, charges that Netanyahu denies.

    System Needs Change

    Statistics back Ben-David's concerns. According to the same survey by Channel 12, the upcoming elections are not expected to change the distribution of votes. Blue and White is still leading with 34 seats, and Likud 33.

    Avigdor Lieberman's from party Israel Beitenu scores the same 8 seats, keeping him as the deciding factor that can determine who the future prime minister will be.

    "This is exactly the reason why the current system is not working and needs to be changed", said Schatz, referring to Israel's political system where voters choose a party, not a candidate.

    In Israel, a party needs to pass a relatively low threshold of 3.25 percent in order to get into the parliament. Although the current system has prompted the creation of an array of parties that bolstered Israel's pluralism and democracy, it's also created a situation where smaller parties can twist the arm of bigger parties in order to score political points.

    Now, however, Netanyahu is offering to change the system by going to a direct vote that Israel toyed with back in the 1990s and that presupposed voters would be asked to cast two votes - one for a party and another for prime minister.

    Even though Ben-David also believes the system is flawed, she doesn't pin the blame on it, but rather on Netanyahu himself.

    "I hold the prime minister and the parliamentarians supporting him so blindly responsible for the current mess. He could have given up on his demands to be the first in rotation (with Benny Gantz - ed.) and he could have resigned to avoid dragging the country into the third round of elections, but he chose to stay on", she said.

    Netanyahu - No More

    Ilan Harel, a 40-year-old computer engineer, shares her views and says he wants to see Netanyahu leave office.

    "Every criminal believes he is innocent. We saw it several times before", he said referring to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former President Moshe Katsav, who have been jailed for bribery and rape respectively.

    Although Harel is tired of the political deadlock, he vows to go out and vote for the third time to make sure the premier doesn't stay in power. "By not voting you are actually boosting the wrong camp and allowing it to benefit from the situation", he said, expressing hope that the current round will be different.

    "Many things could change by March. Gideon Saar can potentially leave the Likud establishing his own party [insert link to my article on who can inherit Netanyahu from a week ago], Yair Lapid (one of Blue and White's chiefs - ed.) can swallow his ego giving up on the rotation agreement with Benny Gantz. Gantz himself might even move aside letting Israel's former chief of staff Gabbi Ashkenazi take the lead", he explained.

    "Either way, I will not vote for Netanyahu. He violated Israel's moral values and has to be held responsible for his deeds. I would note vote for Gantz either but if I have to choose between the two, it would be Gantz, the lesser of the two evils", he summed up.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    vote, vote, Israel, general election, General Election, election, Blue and White Party, Likud party, Likud, Benny Gantz, prime minister
    Community standardsDiscussion