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Outgoing Government Ministers Make Last Minute Pleas to Voters as Israel Heads to the Polls

Voting at a polling station in Jerusalem, in Election Day for Israel's 22nd Knesset. Jerusalem, Sep 17, 2019. Photo by Esty Dziubov/TPS *** Local Caption *** ????? ?????? ?????? 2019 ????????????2019 ????? ??? ?????? ? ????? ??? ????? ???? ???? 22 ????? ??? ???? ????

By Gil Tanenbaum/TPS • 31 October, 2022

Jerusalem, 31 October, 2022 (TPS) — As Israelis head to the polls to vote on Tuesday, the leaders of the country’s current coalition government are working hard to get out the vote. As such, they have taken to social media with a combination of critiques of the opposition and words of encouragement for their supporters.

The current polling by Israeli media shows more or less a dead heat. The difference between former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu winning and forming another government, a centrist government of some form being formed, or a failure to form a government and another round of elections in 6 months, rests now entirely on voter turnout.

The leaders of the different parties and political camps understand this and have been calling on their people to come out and vote, galvanizing the base.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, for example, made a blanket statement saying that he does not divide Israelis into different political camps.

“All Israelis deserve – all Rightists and leftists, Likudniks and Yesh Atidniks – the most basic thing: a government of honest and hardworking people, who will work hard for them,” said Lapid.

“I never believed that Israel is divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’,” he added. “We all love the country, we are all patriots and Zionists and want to live here together. I am turning from here to the voters who have not voted for me in the past and asking you for an opportunity to work together with you.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, for his part, told Israelis on Monday that they are in danger of seeing what he considers to be an extremist government elected on Tuesday. He previously said the right would “burn” the country should it return to power.

“In the face of extremism and danger – we will take care of security and put Israel first,” tweeted Gantz on Monday adding, “Our hope is not lost yet.”

Current Finance Minister and leader of the Yisrael Beitenu Party Avigdor Liberman made it clear that for him the important issue in these elections is who will be responsible for allocating the taxpayers’ money in the next government and if the Ultra-orthodox will get to increase their share of the pie.

“Tomorrow they will decide what the national priorities of the State of Israel will be and who will be the Minister of Finance,” tweeted Liberman. “Will it be Liberman or [Agudat Yisrael Ultra-orthodox politician] Goldknopf, will the money go to the yeshivas and welfare [for Haredim] or will the money go to hi-tech, research and development and IDF soldiers?”

Liberman also claimed that Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Lapid are engaging in negotiations with ultra-orthodox parties about forming a coalition with them. Condemning this he went on to ask the public if they want a “Zionist and liberal government” or not.

Merav Michaeli, the current minister of transportation and leader of the Labor Party said that Netanyahu fears a high turnout from the people on the left.

“[Netanyahu] knows that if all of us, the people who want a Jewish, democratic and liberal state go out to vote – he will lose and go home,” she tweeted on Monday.

Michaeli encouraged her supporters, reminding them of how in the last elections the Labor party won more seats in the Knesset than the polls suggested and so was able to help block Netanyahu from forming another government.

“A year and a half ago we won,” said Michaeli, “there is no reason why we won’t do it again, and even bigger. All you have to do is go vote correctly.”

“Call everyone you know, convince those who don’t want to vote and make them vote,” she said. “Today we return and return home to truth and hope.”

Michaeli went on to claim that “without a strong Labor Party, Lapid will not be able to form a government and we will not be able to win.”

“Tomorrow you vote the only and best strategic vote and you get two victories in one ticket,” she declared.

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