It was a message that resonated with many voters.
“Bibi is the sole ruler of this country in my eyes,” said Elad Shnezik, a 24-year-old currency trader who voted for Likud in Tzur Hadassah, a suburb west of Jerusalem. “I never saw anything wrong with his actions. Everything he does, he does for the people.
But the turnout was the lowest since 2013, around 67%, as some voters seemed tired of the relentless electoral cycle.
“The only one excited to go and vote today is our dog, who takes an extra walk this morning,” said Gideon Zehavi, 54, a psychologist from Rehovot in central Israel.
According to some Arab pollsters, the turnout should be particularly low among the Arab minority. Some said they were deflated by a split in the main Arab political alliance, which reduced the collective power of Arab lawmakers.
“My honest opinion is that it’s not worth wasting my time voting for either party,” said Amir Younes, 32, a restaurant worker in Jaffa. “We have seen this show several times before and the result is the same.”
Mr Netanyahu’s attempts to position himself as a diplomatic pioneer were curbed in the final days of the campaign, after a planned photoshoot in Abu Dhabi with the UAE leadership failed, amid frustration of the Emirates regarding its use as an accessory. during Mr. Netanyahu’s re-election campaign.
And Mr. Netanyahu’s leadership of the pandemic has brought him as much criticism as praise. Although he presided over a successful vaccine rollout, he has been accused of playing politics with other aspects of the pandemic response. In January, he resisted granting much larger fines to those who violated anti-virus measures, a policy that allegedly disproportionately affected ultra-Orthodox Israelis. Ultra-Orthodox parties make up about a quarter of Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing alliance, and he needs their support to form a coalition.