Israeli Election: Netanyahu and Herzog Neck and Neck on Polling Day

Turnout was high in the close contest between Isaac Herzog and Benjamin Netanyahu.
3-17-15 Israel Elections 1
Israeli Election: Netanyahu and Herzog Neck and Neck on Polling Day Baz Ratner/Reuters

It's the closest race in years in Israel, and one heavily watched around the world. On Tuesday, Israelis flocked to the polls for an election that's pitted longtime prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, against his center-left rivals, led by Isaac Herzog. The election has been called a referendum on Netanyahu, who trailed in the polls leading up to the vote. As of 8 p.m. local time, voter turnout stood at 65.7 percent, according to Haaretz, up from 63.9 percent during the same period in 2013.

The prime minister, or Bibi, as he's often called in Israel, has been rallying supporters on the right. On Monday, he made a last-minute effort for votes from the right, reversing course and saying he would not permit the formation of a Palestinian state on his watch. Herzog, on the other hand, told Newsweek he is "utterly serious" about a two-state solution.

No matter who prevails and earns more seats in the Knesset, it remains to be seen who can successfully form a coalition and become the country's next prime minister. Exit polls indicated the two sides were neck and neck. If the results hold, that could give Netanyahu an advantage at creating a new coalition.

3-17-15 Israel Elections 1
A rotating campaign billboard in Tel Aviv showing Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Isaac Herzog, his challenger. The two were the main contenders to be Israel's next prime minister. Exit polls indicated a close race, which could give Netanyahu an advantage in forming the next ruling coalition. Baz Ratner/Reuters