Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on the phone with Israeli voters persuading them to vote for him in the upcoming Israeli elections in event for the Media in his party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel,Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Legislative elections in Israel will be held on Jan. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Election officials in Israel are reporting relatively high turnout today, compared with previous years, as voters decide whether to return Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to office.
Sunny, spring-like weather is helping bring out voters. And a heavy turnout could favor Netanyahu's opponents, whose voters generally have a lower participation rate than the highly-motivated hard-liners.
Netanyahu is widely seen, even by some opponents, as the man best suited to lead Israel at a turbulent time. He has maintained a lead in the polls with a message that the country needs a tough-minded and experienced leader to face down dangers such as Iran's nuclear program and the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Egypt and other Arab countries.
His re-election to a third term would be expected to put Israel on a path to continued deadlock in peace efforts with the Palestinians, and further run-ins with the international community -- including Israel's key ally, the United States.