- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Early polling in Israel, where parliamentary elections are under way, indicates Likud Party’s Benjamin Netanyahu is going to retain his seat.

According to Ynet News, more than 5.6 million Israelis are eligible to vote, and the ballot box at one Tel Aviv polling place already had filled with the conservative Likud tickets.

The predictions for a third term for Mr. Netanyahu are widespread. What remains in question, however, is how much political capital he will maintain. Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign initially faced heavy opposition from parties that swung right of Likud, and meanwhile, his diplomatic ties with the United States has faced stress from a first-term Obama administration. Voter turnout could sway how Mr. Netanyahu conducts peace talks with the Palestinians in the upcoming months, analysts say.

At his last campaign stop in Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu called for union among his political supporters.

“I have a good feeling,” he said in a Reuters report. “At the last minute, I appeal to each and every citizen who is going to the ballot box: Decide for whom you are going to vote — for a divided and weak Israel, or for a united and strong Israel and a large governing party.”