More than 6.5 million eligible Israeli voters will head to the ballot box Tuesday to vote in the fourth national election in two years, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoping the country’s turbo vaccination drive will be enough to keep in power.
The country has been mired in an unprecedented cycle of political deadlock for two years, which was exacerbated shortly after last elections in March 2020 with the advent of the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus has battered Israel, with a higher-than-average mortality rate that saw more than 6,000 die of the disease and a shattered economy.
Netanyahu is also facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate investigations against him but the Israeli leader has insisted that he can continue to run the country and stand trial simultaneously.
Tens of thousands of people protested outside the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence on Saturday night, in the biggest anti-Netanyahu protest since the demonstrations began nearly a year ago.
Netanyahu spearheaded Israel’s superspeed vaccination drive, and half of the population have now received both shots of the Pfizer vaccine.
The positivity rate for the virus has dipped below 1.5 percent, the lowest since November.
Netanyahu is banking on the vaccination campaign’s success as well as his success in securing four normalization deals with Arab countries to see him enter his 13th consecutive year as prime minister.