Israelis go to the polls Tuesday to choose a new parliament, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon widely expected to retain his position.
Public opinion surveys just ahead of polling indicate Mr. Sharon's Likud party will be the largest single group in the 120-member Knesset -- winning 32 or 33 seats -- but will fall far short of a majority. The prime minister will be looking to form a coalition with a number of conservative parties to get the support of at least 61 lawmakers.
Likud's closest rival, the opposition Labor Party, has said it will not be a part of Mr. Sharon's government.
Mr. Sharon has taken a hard line against the Palestinian uprising. On Sunday, Israel banned Palestinian travel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip until after the general elections are completed. The Israeli army says it has been warned that Palestinian militant groups plan to attack Israeli citizens.
The travel ban was announced hours after Israeli forces pulled out of Gaza City from a raid that Palestinians say killed 12 people and wounded at least 50 others.