(April 9, 2019 / JNS) Israelis took to the polls on Tuesday, placing their vote for Israel’s next prime minister and the members of the 21st Knesset.
The polls opened across Israel at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Voters will be able to vote at more than 10,000 locations until 10 p.m., except for hospitals, jails and communities of under 350 residents, where polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Approximately 17,000 thousands police officers were deployed throughout the country, with the Israel Defense Forces imposing a general closure on crossings from Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
The votes of IDF soldiers, inmates, women in shelters, hospital patients, diplomats in foreign countries and election officials will be counted last, and all ballots will be submitted by paper.
The leaders of all the major parties got out the vote early, meeting and greeting voters at their home polling stations.
President Reuven Rivlin was visibly emotional as he cast his vote at the Yefe Nof school in Jerusalem, saying “For 50 years, my wife and I have voted together. I hope and pray, and am sure, that we will do it together again next time, here near our home.” Rivlin’s wife, Nechama, recently suffered a setback following a successful lung transplant and was not able to vote with him on Tuesday.
Thousands of volunteers and activists from across the political spectrum will continue to urge Israelis to vote throughout the day, with some also assisting voters in reaching poll stations.
The official results of the polls will be published on Thursday evening or Friday morning, but about 90 percent the results are expected to be tallied as early as Wednesday afternoon.