Israel Elections: What do we know halfway through Election Day? - analysis

This is the highest voting percentage since 1999. A high voting percentage pushes up the number of votes needed to pass the electoral threshold, which is 3.25% of the general vote.

 A man casts his vote with his dog at a voting station in Tel Aviv, during the Knesset Elections, on November 1, 2022. (photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)
A man casts his vote with his dog at a voting station in Tel Aviv, during the Knesset Elections, on November 1, 2022.
(photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Election Day is nearly over, as polls opened at 7:00 a.m. and will close at 10:00 p.m.

What do we know so far?

The Central Election Committee announced that voting percentages as of 8:00 p.m. were 66.3%, on pace to be the highest voting percentage since 1999. A high voting percentage pushes up the number of votes needed to pass the electoral threshold, which is 3.25% of the general vote.

This would endanger the smaller parties that are near the threshold - Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) from the pro-Netanyahu bloc, and Meretz, Labor, Balad, Hadash-Ta'al and Ra'am from the anti-Netanyahu one.

 An Israeli man casting his ballot on the day of Israel's general election in a polling station in Rahat, Israel November 1, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN) An Israeli man casting his ballot on the day of Israel's general election in a polling station in Rahat, Israel November 1, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

The voting percentage in the Israeli-Arab sector in the morning was reportedly lagging, but it picked up throughout the day. According to Hebrew University's aChord Center, a social-psychology research center, the Arab vote as of 8:00 p.m. was already 44%. This nearly matches the voter turnout in the previous election, which was 44.6%.

A rise in the Arab vote would proportionally benefit the Arab parties more than the rise in the general vote, since 80% of Israel's Arabs traditionally vote for one of the three Arab parties, whereas the Jewish vote is spread out further among parties.

Some politicians on the Right used this as a scare tactic. Religious Zionist Party (RZP) leader MK Bezalel Smotrich claimed in a video that the Arab vote was a full 10% higher than the last election, due to "investment of millions of dollars by the Left and international 'elements.'"