(April 9, 2019 / JNS) Reports of low voter turnout appear to be a political ploy by the Likud, Blue and White, United Torah Judaism and New Right parties.
“We have to save the right. There’s only a few more hours. Go out and vote, otherwise we get a leftist government,” tweeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud.
“Our numbers are good, but not good enough,” said Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. “We have to work harder.”
In an “emergency message” on Twitter, Naftali Bennett of the New Right Party posted: “I ask you to say that those campaigns are incorrect, and that instead, it is we who are in real danger.”
“If we do not change the vote trend, we will wake up tomorrow with Ayelet Shaked no longer justice minister and us having lost our ability to influence,” he added.
Israeli-Arab turnout in Tuesday’s elections is indeed low, according to pollsters.
Although the voting results cannot be publicized until 10 p.m. local time, pollsters told the press that exit polls reveal low turnout in Arab neighborhoods.
“Voter turnout in the Arab community like this is something we’ve never seen before,” said Camil Fuchs, one of Israel’s top pollsters, as quoted Channel 13 journalist Raviv Drucker.
As of 3:30 p.m. local time, some 20 percent of Arab voters had inserted their ballot, causing at least one Arab party to panic.
“It is an emergency, and we may have a Knesset without Arab” parties, said a spokesperson for the Arab-majority Hadash Party.
Despite an expected close race, voter turnout as of 4 p.m. local time was at 42.8 percent, lower than the last national election in 2015 at the same time at 45.2 percent, according to the Central Elections Committee.