Polls have closed – Stay with YWN as we continue bringing you the latest From Election Day 2013!
Netanyahu writes on Facebook: “According to the exit polls, it is clear that Israelis decided that they want me to continue serving as prime minister, and that I form as broad a government as possible,”
Netanyahu says Israeli voters want him to put together a broad government.
The third exit poll, via Channel 1 has been released and posted on YWN.
The second exit poll, via Channel 10 has been released and posted on YWN.
The first of the exit polls have been released – via Channel 2.
Polling stations in the nation’s prisons are closed. Final voter turnout reported to be 70.4%.
In response to the prime minister’s Facebook message that the Likud government is in danger, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich announced “It may be possible to form a coalition without Netanyahu.”
Two men arrested in the Ramot Daled neighborhood of Yerushalayim after they tried voting twice.
Voter turnout at 20:00 reported at 63.7%.
Bayit HaYehudi encouraged by higher voter turnout among IDF personnel, where the dati leumi community has large numbers.
PM Netanyahu is trying to get supporters out to vote. He posted on Facebook “The Likud rule is in danger” amid mounting reports of a strong voter turnout for Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid.
CHANNEL 2: PM Netanyahu has convened an urgent meeting with his most senior advisors in light of reports of growing voter turnout among centrist, left-wing and Arab sectors.
Channel 2 News reports Rav Ovadia is fasting today in addition to speaking to people on the phone to encourage them to vote. At times Rav Ovadia was in tears the report added.
Likud Minister Gilad Erdan is concerned that votes for Yesh Atid may lead to a centrist/ left-wing block against a Netanyahu-led government.
Central Election Committee Chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein permits moving a hospital ballot box to a patient’s bedside to permit voting.
According to veteran political analysts, the higher than average voter turnout is most likely going to assist the centrist/left-wing camp, not the right-wing or chareidi camps. Labor and The Movement Party officials are expressing optimism, speaking of a possible “political revolution.”
Voter turnout at 18:00 reported at 55.5%.
Police have addressed 572 Election Day related complaints.
A Bayit Vegan woman was arrested for stealing ballot slips from a polling station. She came with two children and when she was leaving a guard noticed her bag full of voting slips.
A male was arrested in Betar Illit after he tried voting with a friend’s identity card.
Shas supporters burned a Labor Party banner with a picture of Shelly Yacimovich in Modi’in. Some people were burned as they tried to put out the blaze. Police were summoned. A number of Shas supporters were detained for questioning.
KIRYAT ONO: Suspected fraudulent “אמת” Labor Party ballot slips because they are missing the words בראשות שלי יחימוביץ.
Despite earlier statements to the contrary, Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich announces that if the party reaches 20 or more seats, it may join a “different type of coalition” which may include Yesh Atid and other parties.
CENTRAL ELECTION COMMITTEE: High voter turnout reported in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Arab sector. Low turnout reported in Beersheva. The high turnout will most likely hurt the smaller parties, many of which will not pass minimum threshold.
Israel Prison Authority officials reported 62% voting at 16:00. Most polling in prisons has already ended at this hour as inmates voted from their cells, with guards moving the ballot box around. Some prisons will have voting until 20:00.
Over 100,000 Israelis visited nature reserves around the country, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and Election Day holiday.
Shas supporters began verbally assaulting supporters of Rabbi Chaim Amsellem and his Am Shalem Party in a Beersheva polling station. There are no reports of physical violence or arrests.
Since polling stations opened this morning, police responded to 350 election-related complaints. 11 investigations were opened as a result.
Central Election Committee officials report that as of 16:00, voter turnout reached 46.6%, an increase from the same time in the 2009 elections, which registered 41.9%.
Rosh Yeshivat Kisei Rachamim, Rav Meir Mazuz turned out to vote earlier in the day as did the Alexander Rebbe.
The Vishnitzer Rebbe Shlita voted at 11:00am, escorted by Deputy Minister of Education Rav Menachem Eliezer Moses. The rebbe voted in the Beis Yaakov on Beis Ezra Street in Bnei Brak.
70% voter turnout being reported in Bnei Brak, including Rabbi Yaakov Asher, the mayor and Knesset hopeful, in the seventh slot on the Yahadut Hatorah list.
Chareidim generally have a high voter turnout in general elections. The reported increase in voting today compared to previous elections is viewed as a bad sign by chareidim, realizing the increased numbers will most likely work against them.
A chareidi man entered a polling station on Rav Meir Bal Haness Street in Beit Shemesh and turned over a table. When asked to identify himself for police he refused. He was placed under arrest.
Chareidi protests took place at Kikar Shabbos in Jerusalem and in Beit Shemesh against the elections. There were no reports of incidents or violence.
The Seret-Vishnitz Rebbe voted earlier in Talmud Torah Toras Emmes on Ben Babba Street in Haifa.
At 12:00 noon, 29% of IDF soldiers voted. This includes reservists who were activated for duty. At noontime in the 2009 elections, only 22.2% of soldiers had voted.
LABOR: A complaint was filed seeking immediate intervention to stop Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gafso from pro-Likud activities in the city.
Voter turnout reported at 38.3%. This represents a 4.5% increase over the 2009 elections at the same time.
HAIFA: Tens of Technion University students disguised themselves as disabled so they can vote at the campus disabled polling station instead of traveling elsewhere. Their being discovered has led to an incident involving election officials and police.
LIKUD/BEITENU: The party has filed a complaint after forged voting ballots were found in Hadera, Rishon L’tzion and Beit Ezra. While the slips have the Likud “מחל” letters, the ballots do not say ליכוד ישראל ביתנו בראשות בנימין נתניהו לראשות הממשלה
MK Yoel Hasson has filed a complaint against Yahadut Hatorah for using illegal campaign tactics, fictitious draft notices which warn voters if they do not vote Gimmel they will be drafted.
N. TEL AVIV: A resident filed a complaint with police after arriving to vote and was told “you already voted”. Apparently someone voted under the same name and identity number.
Amir Peretz, number three on The Movement Party list, voted in Sderot, telling reporters “Today is going to be Yom Kippur for pollsters.”
Voter turnout at noon reached 26.7%. This is the highest voter turnout by noon since 1999.
Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh says elections in Israel will lead to a more extremist government.
AM SHALEM: Rabbi Chaim Amsellem reports that he has learned ballot slips from his party have been removed in some areas. In addition, Shas is spreading a rumor that he has bowed out of the race, directing voters to Shas. He stated “This is characteristic of Shas which lies and steals when it’s a mitzvah. This is a historic opportunity to make a change in Israeli society.”
Green Leaf Party officials report to Central Election Committee that their ballot slips were missing from many IDF polling stations. Committee officials signal they have not received any such reports until now.
A Haifa woman was lightly injured this morning after being assaulted as she tried removing Yesh Atid signs.
YESH ATID alleges that its ballot slips bearing the letters “פה” were switched in a number of polling stations with slips of “הפ” from the חיים בכבוד”” party which is not expected to pass the minimum threshold.
A complaint has been filed with the Central Election Committee stating that in a chareidi area of Yerushalayim, one of the poll watchers is dressed immodestly and this causes issues for frum voters.
Yad Sarah is assisting on Election Day, providing transportation to and from polling stations for wheelchair bound citizens. Those requiring the service may phone 1-700-501-800.
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich voted in Tel Aviv near her home.
Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On has voted.
Shas leader Aryeh Deri voted in a Jerusalem Beis Yaakov polling station.
Otzma Yisrael poll watchers called to halt voting in Yad Binyamin, alleging Bayit HaYehudi activists removed their slips from ballot box to prevent voters from voting Otzma Yisrael.
HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita and HaGaon HaRav Nissim Karelitz Shlita have both voted.
HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita walked from his home at 5 Chazon Ish Street in Bnei Brak to vote at a nearby polling station located on HaAdmor M’Gur Street.
The Movement Party leader Tzipi Livni on the way to vote with her husband told reporters “Those who understand the need for change understand the policies of Binyamin Netanyahu must be changed. The time for the [political] spins has ended and I am confident there will be a dramatic outcome in the elections.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid voted in Tel Aviv, telling reporters “it’s a special feeling to vote for myself”.
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz voted in Kochav Yair, telling reporters “This is a very important day for the nation.”
Voting is now reported to have reached 11.4% of eligible voters nationwide.
Central Election Committee Chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein reports voting at this hour is “not bad” as compared to the last general elections in 2009. Back in 2009, at 10:00am, a bit over 10% of eligible voters had already exercised their right to vote.
Shas activists tried to bring fake voting slips into a Hadera polling station. The slips were for competing parties including Rav Amnon Yitzchak, Rav Amsellem and Bayit HaYehudi in the hope of having those envelopes disqualified.
Labor Party officials report a Likud activist at a polling station on Elkalai Street in Kfar Saba threatened a Labor person with scissors. The incident concluded without injuries.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai voted in a Jerusalem Beis Yaakov polling station. He told the press “I hope we get more than 11 seats. Every additional vote is a bracha.”
Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Lieberman has voted in his Gush Etzion community of Nokdim (El David).
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the Kosel explaining this is his custom; to daven for the future of Israel. He inserted a kvitel into the Wall which reported said בעזרת השם למען עתיד ישראל.
Central Election Committee Chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein instructed the Hebrew Kikar Shabbat chareidi website to remove a video against the Koach L’Hashpiah Party. The video shows Maran Rav Ovadia Shlita speaking against Rav Amnon Yitzchak.
Escorted by Shas leaders, Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita voted in Kiryat Moshe a short time ago.
President Shimon Peres voted in the Omaniyot High School a short time ago.
Bayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett and his wife voted in Ra’anana a short time ago.
The over 10,000 polling stations nationwide have opened to permit 5,656,705 eligible voters to cast their ballots for the 19th Knesset.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)