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Netanyahu campaigns in Jerusalem on the eve of the election. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will contest his fourth election in two years on Tuesday, fighting for a parliamentary majority that could help him undercut his ongoing corruption trial.

Why it matters: Three inconclusive elections have left Israel locked in a prolonged political crisis as Netanyahu fights for his political and legal survival. This time, Israel's longest-serving prime minister faces a divided opposition and has a clear opportunity to finally win a 61-seat majority.

The state of play: The latest polls show Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc and a broad anti-Netanyahu bloc both winning 60 seats.

What to watch: If Netanyahu manages to get to 61, he will form the most religious and conservative coalition in the history of the country. His rivals claim that such a government could challenge the democratic character of the country.

  • Netanyahu denies that he plans to fire the attorney general or pass laws to suspend his corruption trial, but several of his would-be coalition partners have expressed support for such steps.
  • If Netanyahu’s bloc narrowly fails to win a majority, Israel is likely to head for a fifth round of elections.

Driving the news: Both Netanyahu and his primary rival, centrist Yair Lapid, rallied their bases on the eve of the election.

  • Lapid needs to boost turnout in Tel Aviv, Haifa and the other big cities in the center of Israel.
  • Netanyahu is trying to mobilize voters in his Likud party’s strongholds in the north and south of Israel and in Jerusalem.
  • The outcome could come down to a question of which small parties from either side reach the 3.25% electoral threshold to enter the Knesset.
  • Turnout among Israel’s Arab minority, expected to slump this time around, will also be crucial to determining the outcome.

Flashback: Netanyahu and his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, signed a power-sharing deal last April that outraged many of Gantz’s supporters by allowing Netanyahu to retain power for 18 months while stipulating that Gantz would then rotate in as prime minister.

  • Before power could change hands, the government collapsed in December, along with Gantz's political standing.

Zoom in: One of the most interesting players in this election is Naftali Bennett, a right-wing former tech entrepreneur who had until recently been seen as a kingmaker because neither bloc would be able to reach 61 without him.

  • His party's poll numbers began slipping as Netanyahu told supporters Bennett would ally with Lapid against his fellow conservatives.
  • Under pressure, Bennett went on a pro-Netanyahu channel and signed a document on live TV promising not to join a government headed by Lapid — effectively aligning himself with Netanyahu.

What’s next: Exit polls will be published at 9pm local time (3pm ET), but the pollsters will be extra cautious because thousands of ballots will be counted late due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The bottom line: These elections will likely be decided by one or two seats, meaning a few thousand votes could change the outcome and the entire country.

Go deeper: Thousands protest outside Netanyahu's home.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

An underwater view of swimmers including Team USA's Caeleb Dressel (R) in the final of the Olympic Tokyo Games men's 100m freestyle on July 29. Photo: François-Xavier Marit/AFP via Getty Images

There's been plenty of Olympics drama on day six of the Tokyo Games Thursday — notably China's women's swimming team beating the U.S. and Australia in the record-setting 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

The big picture: Katie Ledecky helped the U.S. win silver, which also beat the previous world record smashed by China's team. Team USA grabbed two more swimming gold medals, when Caeleb Dressel won the men's 100m freestyle and Bobby Finke triumphed in the first men's Olympic 800m freestyle.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Simone Biles during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday in Japan. Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏊‍♂️: Caeleb Dressel wins gold in men's 100m freestyle —Bobby Finke wins gold in first men's Olympic 800m freestyle

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

🎾: "This one sucks more than the others," Naomi Osaka says on upset loss

🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

China wins Olympic gold in women's 4x200m freestyle relay, sets world record

Junxuan Yang, Muhan Tang, Yufei Zhang and Bingjie Li of Team China react after winning the gold medal in the women's 4 x 200m freestyle relay final. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

China grabbed Olympic gold in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay, in a surprise record win in Tokyo Thursday.

The big picture: Katie Ledecky made up time as Team USA's final swimmer to help the U.S. take silver. Australia, which was the heavy favorite, won the bronze. All three teams finished ahead of the previous world record pace.