Hanging election signs for Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu party on the road from Jerusalem to the West Bank. (Photo: Alon Tuval)

Israelis went to the polls Tuesday for a parliamentary election that's not expected to change their country's political leadership. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will most probably keep his job.

BBC- Israelis have been voting in large numbers in a general election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be returned to office.

Before the vote, analysts had said high turnout would help center-left parties.

Polls suggest that Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu alliance will win but with a reduced majority, having lost ground to a new party Habayit Hayehudi.

On Tuesday evening Netanyahu posted a Facebook message urging Likud supporters to cast their vote.

"The Likud government's rule is in danger. I ask that you leave everything and go out to vote now. This is very important to ensure Israel's future," the message read.

Some observers say this call to vote could be part of the party's political strategy rather than panic.

"The nervous messages Likud officials are getting out might be a spin to urge their supporters to go and vote," the Haaretz newspaper's diplomatic correspondent, Barak Ravid, tweeted.

First results are expected overnight, although the process of forming a government may take several weeks.

Unlike in previous elections, the parties' campaigns have focused largely on social and economic issues, rather than the prospects for a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians.

There have been unprecedented protests against the rising cost of living and a recent report said nearly one in four Israelis lived in poverty.

  • Here are the 34 parties running in Israel's national election. Each one is represented by 1 to 3 Hebrew (or Arabic) letters. The names are also listed in Russian. (Photo: Alon Tuval)

  • 28 year-old law student, Itamar said he voted in Jerusalem for the Labor party, which he hopes will re-start negotiations with the Palestinians. (Photo: Alon Tuval)

  • Douglas Goldstein lives in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. He voted for the Jewish Home party. (Photo: Alon Tuval)

  • The Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank is not far from Jerusalem. Israelis consider it to be part of one of the settlement "blocs" that will remain in Israel after any peace deal with the Palestinians. (Photo: Alon Tuval)

  • Teenagers volunteering for the left-wing party Meretz (green) and right-wing Likud-Beiteinu (navy blue) pose outside a Jerusalem polling center. (Photo: Alon Tuval)

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