World Bulletin / News Desk
Israelis have started to flock to polling stations across the self-proclaimed Jewish state to elect a new Knesset (parliament) amid a dead heat between the incumbent Likud party and the Zionist Union alliance.
"I arrived to the poll station at 6am to exercise my right to vote in a democratic country," Youli Abrahm, a 34-year-old teacher, told outside a West Jerusalem polling station.
"Despite repeated promises, the costs of commodities and apartments rose dramatically in Israel during the past eight years," she said. "I want a secure life for my daughter and for my family. I will vote for the party who would achieve this," she added, without naming the party for whom she would vote.
Recent polls indicated that competition is expected to be fierce between right-wing Likud headed by incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Zionist Union, an alliance between the centrist Labor and Hatnuah parties led by MK Isaac Herzog and former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni respectively.
Some voters have expressed their frustration at the performance of Netanyahu's government and hinted that they would vote for other parties.
"Taxes have been increasing, while health and public services are decreasing. Right-wing governments care only about how to remain on ruling, I hope that a left-wing government is formed after the election to elevate the public services of the nation" Avi Gal, a 26-year-old library worker, told.
Dana Nemri, a 28-year-old restaurant worker in West Jerusalem, seemed to agree.
"Right-wing governments have failed to rule. Instead of spending money on health and social programs, they spend it on building settlements and fighting wars," she said.
"Every year Israel goes in war, I believe that Israel and Palestinians deserve to live in peace," she added.
"I believe that (leftist) Meretz stands for the equality of the Israelis; it’s a party that turns to the concerns of the Israeli people."
Yet, Yisrael Kohen, a 37-year-old employee in Tel-Aviv, disagreed, voicing support for Netanyahu's Likud.
"Netanyahu’s government succeeded in subduing terrorists attacks in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv and worked hard to build a secure state," he said.
"We are facing economic problems indeed, but in this sensitive time, security for the Jewish people is what's important. No one but Netanyahu can provide this," he added.
Israel's official electoral commission said the number of eligible voters for the 20th Knesset vote stood at 5,881,696, who would cast their ballots at 10,372 polling stations nationwide.
The commission has stressed that Israel's elections system effectively guarantees the right to vote to every Israeli citizen 18 and above, and the right to compete for a parliamentary seat to every citizen 21 and above.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Mart 2015, 09:18