According to Reuters, Netanyahu spent much of Tuesday engaged in a last-gasp pitch for votes via live video feeds on social media.
At times, according to real-time viewership data at the bottom of the screen, fewer than 400 people were watching on a warm, sunny day when many Israelis were at the beach or shopping before the polls closed in the evening.
Sticking to the same campaign playbook for the past week, Netanyahu repeated a relentless message to supporters of his right-wing Likud party as if his political life depended on it: “Get out and vote.”
The alternative, he told them, claiming a strong turnout for left-leaning parties before any official statistics were in, would be a “disaster” – an end to his 10 consecutive years in power and a “leftist” government in charge.
Political commentators dubbed it Netanyahu’s “oy gevalt” strategy, Yiddish slang for warnings of impending doom.
Dressed in dark suit and tie, Netanyahu, 69, sat at a desk, a map of the Middle East in the background, and made his appeal in a rapid and imploring cadence worthy of fast-talking, “infomercial” pitchmen.
As aides off-camera handed him cellular phones, he fielded calls from Likud activists across Israel, grasping the devices in one hand while holding up a prop – an oversized ballot emblazoned with his party’s name – in the other.
“I am losing,” he told one supporter as a caption went up giving the man’s hometown as Nes Ziona, near Tel Aviv. Then it was onto the next call.
“What’s happening in Rosh Ha’ayin?” Netanyahu asked, mentioning the town where his strongest challenger, former armed Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party, lives. “Gantz’s neighbourhood voted at 7am,” Netanyahu, answering his own question, told the caller.