“In a war, in a state of emergency, we see the municipality and the local authority and council handling and coping with a multitude of challenges, and there is nothing more important than that, so I call on citizens of Israel to go out and vote,” President Isaac Herzog said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government has seen its support plunge over the failures that allowed the devastating Hamas-led assault to catch security forces by surprise. But surveys indicate that overall support for the war itself remains solid among Israelis fearful that the movement would repeat the attack if it is not destroyed.

The attack killed about 1,200 Israelis and foreigners and the gunmen abducted another 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies, prompting a relentless bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces that has so far displaced most of the population and killed almost 30,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health authorities.

In Israel, some 200,000 people were evacuated from the border areas as Israel launched its response. But after months of living in hotels and other temporary accommodations, there is growing fatigue and pressure to get back to normal.

In Gaza, Israeli forces have been preparing an assault on Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians displaced from their homes have been seeking shelter.

On Tuesday, hopes of a pause in the fighting were raised when US President Joe Biden indicated that an agreement may be reached next week, ahead of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

But in the north, exchanges of fire have steadily intensified and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday that forces would step up operations there if a temporary ceasefire is agreed in Gaza.


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