On Tuesday morning, more than 12,000 polling stations were opened to allow about 6.8 million voters in Israel to cast their ballots.
This is the fifth round of elections in Israel to be carried out in less than four years.
Orly Ades, the director general of the Central Elections Committee, announced that about 28.4% of the eligible Israeli voters had cast their ballots as of 12 p.m.
This is the highest noon percentage to have been recorded in the country since 1999. In contrast, the last election in March, 2021 had seen 25.4% of eligible voters cast their ballots by this time.
However, the voting process was not smooth everywhere. A polling station had to be shut down in Beit Shemesh and moved to another location.
This was because a foul-smelling fluid was sprayed by extremists while trying to discourage voting. The leaders of all major political parties also cast their votes elsewhere.
They also encouraged the citizens to use their democratic right and cast their ballots. Prime Minister Yair Lapid began the day with a visit to his father’s grave.
He had been a journalist and a noted cabinet minister. Then the premier went to the polling station close to his home in Tel Aviv to cast his vote.
He also urged people to vote for the future of their children and that of the country. Even though most polls are unreliable, they gave 56 seats to the bloc of current parties in the coalition led by Lapid.
Isaac Herzog, the President of Israel, also cast his vote in Jerusalem and added that each voting slip would have an impact.
He said that participating in clean, free and equal elections was a major privilege because there are billions of people around the globe who do not get to enjoy it.
The President said that there was no doubt of the impact of every vote and anyone who believes that their vote does not count is wrong.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, also cast his vote in Jerusalem, along with his wife Sara and encouraged people to exercise their privilege.
The opposition leader was concerned about a high turnout in areas of the left-wing parties, but hoped that the day would end with a smile.
According to most of the surveys carried out in recent days, the Netanyahu-led bloc is likely to win 60 seats, which means that even the slightest shift in his favor would allow him to form a coalition.
This would help the opposition leader return to power, with the support of the two Haredi parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas, and the far-right Religious Zionism faction.
Benny Gantz, the Defense Minister, urged people to cast their votes for the party they consider the most capable, rather than the largest.
The National Unity Party leader is being considered a third potential candidate for prime minister, after Lapid and Netanyahu.
He said that he wanted to see security and unity, rather than division or incitement.