At 73, the longest-lasting head of government in the country's history is trying to rally a majority of 61 deputies, out of the 120 in Parliament, with his allies from the ultra-Orthodox parties and the far right which has the wind aft.
Proof of the ambient suspense, the latest polls credited Netanyahu's "right bloc" with 60 seats, against 56 for the outgoing Prime Minister, the centrist Yair Lapid, and his allies.
"We go everywhere, to all cities, to all voters, to all undecided people and we say to them: what do you choose? Hatred or your children? The anger of the past or the common good of the future?" Monday Mr. Lapid during a meeting of his party Yesh Atid ("There is a future").
On his campaign posters, Mr Netanyahu shows his opponent with Arab party leaders saying “Once is enough”, calling the Lapid government “dangerous”.
In June 2021, he joined a "coalition for change" bringing together parties of the right, left, center and an Arab formation, Raam de Mansour Abbas, to oust Mr. Netanyahu from power, accused by the courts of corruption in a series of cases.
"We've seen what they've done to deteriorating security, we've seen what they've done to the economy with inflation, we've seen what they've done to our national pride. , so the question is very simple: if you want this to continue ... stay at home,” Netanyahu said on Monday.
- Lost votes? -
Mr. Lapid's coalition lost its majority in Parliament in the spring with the departure of right-wing elected officials, pushing the government to call new elections, the fifth since April 2019 in Israel, a country which has struggled in recent years to give birth to coalitions or to maintain them.
While the campaign started slowly, it has accelerated in recent days with religious parties displaying banners in the streets of Jerusalem and Arab formations distributing leaflets in Arab towns in the Galilee.
"Without us, the right will form a majority government. To stop them, we need you," Ahmed Tibi, one of the tenors of the Hadash-Taal Arab list, said in Hebrew on Sunday.
In 2020, Arab Israeli parties reaped a record 15 seats by campaigning vigorously under one banner. But this time, they are running in dispersed order under three lists: Raam (moderate Islamist), Hadash-Taal (secular) and Balad (nationalist).
In the Israeli proportional system, an electoral list must obtain 3.25% of the votes to enter Parliament with a minimum of four seats. Below this threshold, the parties have no MPs.
Divided, the Arab parties are therefore more at risk of not reaching this threshold and thus favoring the victory of the Netanyahu camp and his allies.
This election comes in a climate of tension in the occupied West Bank with two attacks carried out in recent days by Palestinians, one of which killed an Israeli civilian on Saturday evening in Hebron (south), a city around which and in which settlers live. Israelis.
In the wake of a series of anti-Israeli attacks in the spring, the army carried out more than 2,000 raids in the West Bank, a territory occupied since 1967, notably in Jenin or Nablus (north). These operations, often interspersed with clashes, left more than 120 dead on the Palestinian side, the heaviest toll in seven years.
“We know that these elections will not bring a partner for peace, and despite this, we say to the international community that it must demand that the next Israeli Prime Minister commit to ending the occupation and to the conflict," Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said in Ramallah on Monday.
The Israeli army told AFP on Tuesday to close access points to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, except for "humanitarian" emergencies, because of the elections.
In the Israeli press, a question arose on Monday, whether this violence will have the "last word", favoring a vote on the right in a fiercely contested ballot, as noted by Yediot Aharonot.