Israel Election: Parties Scramble to Rally Voters | Live Updates
Israelis will be heading to the polls on Tuesday to cast their vote in the national election that is widely seen as a referendum on incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu.
>> Israel election 2019: Full coverage
As the parties scramble to rally last-minute voters, the final poll before the election, published Friday, gave the right-wing bloc a solid lead over the center left, headed by Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party.
>> Your comprehensive guide to the Israeli election ■ All the news, features and analyses as Israelis head to the polls
2:17 P.M.: Netanyhau tells LGBTQ leaders Likud would keep education portfolio
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told representatives of Israeli LGBTQ organizations that the education portfolio would remain in Likud’s hands and not be handed over to one of its potential conservative coalition partners. Netanyahu said before he would appoint an education minister from his own party, but in February told far-right Habayit Hayehudi they would get the education and housing portfolios if they unite with Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit, which they did.
His wife, Sara, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and Likud lawmakers Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, and Yoav Kish, also attended Sunday’s meeting. Heads of the organizations represented in the meeting said in a statement that Netanyahu refused to commit to promoting equal rights as a precondition for any potential coalition government, but told them he is personally committed to LGBTQ rights.
Netanyahu’s last meeting with LGBTQ representatives was in 2009, after a deadly shooting at a Tel Aviv LGBTQ youth center.
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1:59 P.M. Palestinian foreign minister issues warning over Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation promise
Riad Malki said Israel’s leader will face a "real problem" if he follows through with his election campaign promise to annex Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Malki added that the Palestinians would resist such a policy if carried out.
1:17 P.M. Netanyahu meets heads of LGBT community
LGBT community leaders said Netanyahu refused to commit to push for equal rights as he builds a coalition. The prime minister did however express his and the Likud party’s commitment to LGBT right (Lee Yaron)
11:32 A.M. Netanyahu is competing against an old version of himself, writes Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn
Benn adds: "The fact that the right rose to power 42 years ago and that Netanyahu has ruled for a decade doesn’t stop them from arguing the real power remains in the hands of their political opponents."
9:11 A.M. Netanyahu says he will begin annexing West Bank if he wins Israel election
Netanyahu told Channel 12 that he will not "evacuate any community" nor divide Jerusalem: "A Palestinian state will endanger our existence," he said.
6:32 A.M. With days before election, Netanyahu hits the panic button, writes Anshel Pfeffer.
"We’ve seen it all before in 2015. But will a last-minute ‘The Arab voters are moving in droves’ strategy be as effective for Netanyahu in 2019?" he asks.
WATCH: Lawmaker Ahmad Tibi says Netanyahu killed the two-state solution
– Trump’s peace plan and the Arab vote in the Israeli election: A talk with lawmaker Ahmad Tibi