With election turnout lowest since 2009, parties break out panic campaigns

As of 8 p.m., 60.9% have cast their ballot, a 4.7% decline compared to last round; turnout down in Arab communities; stations for COVID patients, people in quarantine said empty

A voter arrives to cast her ballot at a polling station in Tel Aviv on March 23, 2021, in the fourth national election in two years (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Turnout in Israel’s fourth national election in two years slumped on Tuesday afternoon, recording the lowest rates since 2009 as of 8 p.m. at 60.9 percent — a drop of 4.7% from the same time on election day a year ago, the Central Elections Committee said.

In response, and with only a few hours before the polls were set to close, politicians made last-ditch attempts to galvanize their supporters to go out and vote, in what has come to be known in Israel as “gevalt” tactics (a Yiddish term for doomsaying).