Efrat Ariel was standing outside a Tel Aviv polling station, feeling depressed.
"I decided who to vote for on the way over," she said. "It was a last-minute vote. This is the first time I've ever been in such a state of indecision over my vote. I was wavering between [Labor chairman] Ehud Barak, [Kadima chairwoman] Tzipi Livni and Meretz. I've always voted Meretz, because of their social contract, which really speaks to me. Until today I voted for them happily, and there were moments when I thought I'd stay with them this time as well. But because I know the race between Livni and [Likud chairman Benjamin] Netanyahu for the premiership is really close, I was uncertain. In the end, on the way over here I finally had to make a decision, and I decided to go with Livni."
There were plenty of people like Ariel in Tel Aviv yesterday. "I've been debating over whether I should even vote," said Dana Cohen, 36, as she left a different polling station. "I usually like small parties, so I was hesitating between Green Leaf and the Greens, and went with Green Leaf. I decided only two days ago. I think it took me so long to decide who to vote for because I had so little desire to vote at all. Green Leaf ran a humorous campaign, and that roused me a bit to come and vote. But I almost stayed home."
No fan of Bibi
Dror Schoen, 46, also had a tough time deciding. "For years I've voted Meretz," he said, "but this year, since I'm no great fan of Netanyahu, I decided to vote for Tzipi Livni. I think her party is atrocious, it has terrible people in it, but I had no choice. I decided to vote for her solely because she's the only answer to Netanyahu. I had no other reason to abandon my party for a party I don't like. I was thinking about what to do until the last minute, thinking that maybe inside the polling booth I'd return to my own party."
Shalom Asraf, 27, finally made his decision on Monday night. "I sat with my sister and my wife and debated with them over what to do," he said. "I felt as if there were no one to vote for - that the same old faces were telling me the same old stories. That is the feeling I came here with. My conflict was between Livni and Netanyahu. Netanyahu's advantage, in my view, is his expertise in economic matters. His greatest disadvantage is the fact that I don't trust him, I don't believe him. Livni, from my perspective, was a new face that I was better able to relate to. Perhaps I wanted a new style, like [Barack] Obama in the United States. So I decided to go for the new face. Within these constraints, I feel as satisfied as possible with my choice. But no more. I went in debating and I came out debating."