- Israelis are heading to the polls on Tuesday for a fifth time in less than four years. The electorate will select the 25th Knesset and decide the next PM, amid continuing political deadlock following the collapse of former PM Naftali Bennet's coalition over the summer.
- Bennet's predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu is also running, though, for the first time in 13 years, not as the incumbent. Netanyahu — a controversial, right-wing politician and leader of the Likud party — is a prime contender in what looks to be a close race. The former PM is himself one of the defining issues in the election and is currently on trial over allegations of corruption.
- Netanyahu has cultivated a strong following among Israel's right-wing, however there are factions that oppose him. Those who he has promised to appoint to key cabinet posts include Itamar Ben-Gvir — a politician previously convicted for supporting terrorism through his calls for Arabs to be expelled.
- His main contenders for premiership are caretaker PM Yair Lapid — leader of the Yesh Atid party — and Defense Minister Benny Gantz — leader of the National Unity Party. Each of the rivals could head a broad coalition comprising Israel's Center, Left, and Arab parties.
- Polling published on Friday indicated that Netanyahu could come just one seat short of an outright majority, as opponents rally against him.
- Netanyahu's path to power is still complicated, as he's currently embroiled in a high-profile criminal trial that includes charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Reestablishing a hold on power will also require him to build coalitions with controversial politicians.
- Left narrative, as provided by Haaretz. Netanyahu must not return to power. Besides his open bigotry against the Arab community, he's a deeply corrupt politician that constantly assaulted Israeli institutions and imperiled democracy while in office. Indeed the "government of change" had its problems, but allowing a far-right ultranationalist bloc comprising Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir to form Israel's new government would be far more dangerous.
- Right narrative, as provided by Times of Israel. Though elements of Netanyahu's potential coalition may be somewhat unsavory, his victory would be a strong message to hostile actors that Israel will not roll over to terrorist demands. The corruption charges against him are, at best, substantially overstated and, at worst, a criminal endeavor against a former PM. He represents strength in the face of terror, while politicians such as Yair Lapid represent weakness, especially considering the terrible deal he recently made with Lebanon.
- Pro-Palestine, as provided by Al Jazeera. Israeli "democracy" is farcical considering the millions of Palestinians living under military occupation have no say in who will determine the level of oppression they face on a daily basis. How can Israel claim to be a democracy when it rules over 15M people between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, half of whom are not Jewish and most of whom can’t vote in Israel? Simply put, an apartheid state cannot be a democracy.