Discuss. I will add data as I find it.
(first update 8:30 am CDT):
Israel is 6 hours ahead of US Eastern Daylight Time, 7 hours ahead of CDT, 8 hours ahead of Mountain Daylight Time, and 9 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time.
Polls opened at 7 AM in Jerusalem, and the first exit polling is expected around 10 PM, but that is generally considered unreliable. In the last election in 2013, almost six million votes were cast, in over 10,000 polling places. The voter turnout then was 67.8 percent of eligible voters.
There is a good rundown of some of the issues in the Israeli election here.
In recent days, Prime Minister Netanyahu's popularity in Israel seems to have taken as hit, as his campaign appearance before the US Congress at the invitation of Republicans appears to have backfired. In an attempt to drive up the far-right vote, he responded in recent days by taking a very hard line on Palestinian statehood. This is a risky gamble, as it might also fire up his opposition.
(Update 3:00 pm CDT):
There is this interesting development:
Increasingly worried that he could lose Tuesday’s elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel lashed out at the country’s Arab voters, expressing alarm that a large turnout by them could determine the outcome. Opponents accused him of baldfaced racism.----------
(Update 3:30 pm CDT):
For what it's worth, results seem to be coming in earlier than expected:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his chief challenger, Isaac Herzog of the center-left Zionist Union, appeared to win about the same number of seats in Parliament in Tuesday’s election, according to Israeli news media and exit polls, promising a protracted and messy process of forming the next governing coalition.Together, Each of these two parties looks to take about 22.5% of the total number of seats, which will leave them both scrambling to form a ruling coalition. It would be amusing, of course, if neither of them is able to.
After a divisive campaign that was seen as a referendum on Mr. Netanyahu’s tenure, an intense push in the final days apparently brought a surge in votes for both major parties, with each expected to take about 27 of the 120 seats.
If these preliminary numbers turn out to be the final count, this would be a drop of almost 13% for Netanahu's Likud party, which won 31 seats in the 19th Knesset in the election of 2013 -- itself a drop of eleven seats from the 18th Knesset. This is a pretty clear trend that doesn't look good in the long run for Likud.
(Update 9:00 pm CDT):
Here's the latest. It appears that the Likud Party may have the narrowest of pluralities, with 27 or 28 seats as compared to the Zionist Union Party's 26 or 27.
Mr. Netanyahu and his allies seized on the early numbers to create an aura of inevitability, celebrating with singing and dancing. While his opponents vowed a fight, Israeli political analysts agreed that he had the advantage, with more votes having gone to the right-leaning parties likely to support him.In what seems to be a typical right-wing pattern there as well as here, Mr. Netanyahu may still win by having played up some of the darkest aspects of political prejudice and mysanthropy.
It was a turnabout from the last pre-election polls published Friday, which showed the Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, with a four- or five-seat lead and building momentum. To bridge the gap, Mr. Netanyahu embarked on a last-minute scorched-earth campaign, promising that no Palestinian state would be established as long as he remained in office and insulting Arab citizens.
(final update 8:30 am CDT 3/18):
With the counting all but finished, Netanyahu's Likud Party has won 30 of the 120 seats, to Herzog's Zionist-Union Party's 24, in what amounts to a clear victory. Herzog has conceded defeat, and Israeli pollsters are scrambling to discover how their projections were so far off. Netanyahu has pledged to work "quickly" to form a new government.