Interior Minister Moshe Arbel holds a press conference on February 12, 2024, ahead of municipal elections scheduled for February 27. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

With ballot boxes for troops in Gaza, Israel readies for local elections in wartime

Vote initially scheduled for October to finally take place February 27, though 12 municipal authorities whose residents have been evacuated will still need to wait

By JEREMY SHARON |

Preparations for nationwide municipal elections are in full swing ahead of election day on February 27, but 12 municipal authorities will not vote on that date since their inhabitants have been evacuated due to the current conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah, the Interior Ministry announced on Monday.

At the same time, voting booths will be set up in the Gaza Strip to enable soldiers currently on combat duty in the war-torn territory to exercise their right to vote.

In total, some 7.2 million Israelis in 241 municipal authorities will have the right to vote in over 11,600 polling stations across the country in the upcoming ballot, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza and in the face of severe security threats from both Hamas and the Hezbollah Lebanese terror group.

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel said during a press briefing on Monday that the ministry is closely coordinating with the IDF Homefront Command and the Israel Police to ensure that preparations are in place in the event of security incidents on election day.

“I pray that together, our officials, the candidates in the various municipal authorities, and of course the residents — the electorate, we will be able to hold a true democratic celebration on February 27, even in the very complex reality we are facing,” said Arbel.

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