“We are the first country to escape the scourge of Corona,” says Shimi Hefroni. “What do you want too?” For the Israeli, the rapid vaccination program is one more reason to vote for his prime minister. “There is no better leader,” he says.
Hefroni is waiting for Netanyahu to arrive in a Tel Aviv suburb, where the election convoy passes today. Every day, Netanyahu strolls halls and halls across the country. These types of meetings are allowed again, after his government has taken public life step by step in recent weeks From the lock.
The dilution is due in large part to the smooth vaccination campaign. The vast majority of adults in Israel have already been fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus, and the number of infections continues to decrease.
As for Prime Minister Netanyahu, he is one of the most important issues in his election campaign, in addition to the diplomatic agreements he signed with various Arab countries. Israel heads to the polls on Tuesday, for the fourth time in more than a year and a half. With a good result, the 71-year-old right-wing leader, who has been in power for twelve years, could add a new term.
The vaccination campaign is an important electoral weapon in this regard. Netanyahu was the first to get vaccinated, and he was there when the million and five million Israelis were vaccinated. “We are the world champions in vaccination,” he shouts from the stage in Holon, the Tel Aviv suburb, as he campaigns.
Netanyahu’s supporters saw their image as a powerful leader defending Israeli interests on the world stage. But at the same time, the prime minister, accused of corruption, remains unpopular in most parts of the country. For more than six months, there have been weekly demonstrations at his official residence, sometimes attracting tens of thousands of protesters.
Too many mistakes
Netanyahu is also meeting protesters in a campaign. A few meters away, supporters and opponents of the prime minister are shouting at each other through loudspeakers, separated by barriers. “Our civic duty is to protect Israel’s democracy,” said Victor Wirtsner, who holds a megaphone and a black flag in his hand.
Wirtsner hopes that the Netanyahu era will end after the elections. “He arranged the vaccines well,” said the protester, “but another prime minister could have done that as well.” “The problem is that Netanyahu is corrupt and only thinks about himself.”
His opponents believe that the prime minister should resign over the protracted corruption case. Netanyahu is in court on charges that include bribery and fraud. In addition, the opposition points out that the government made many mistakes in the Corona crisis last year.
But a real alternative to Netanyahu does not appear to be available either. His opponents are divided and all score well below the prime minister’s Likud party in opinion polls. This certainly applies to Benny Gantz, the former contender who decided to work with Netanyahu after three elections in which nothing was decided. He has been criticized for this, and it is uncertain whether his party will cross the electoral threshold.
Likud won 30 seats in the polls. Yesh Atid, opposition leader Yair Lapid, follows just under 20 seats away. But the magic number is 61 again next Tuesday, which is the number of seats needed for a majority in Parliament. In the past three times, all of Netanyahu’s allies and opponents have failed to get the necessary number of representatives standing behind them.
According to the latest polls, it is unclear whether there will be a majority in either camp this time. Nor does this guarantee that the stalemate that has been imposed on politics has ended in its grip for nearly two years. Thus, the fifth election in a row is not forthcoming.