Israelis line up at shopping malls more than ballot boxes

While voter turnout appears to be low, credit card expenditures totaled over 928 million shekels, a significant increase of 13% compared to the total expenditures on the last Election Day in 2022

Against the backdrop of low voter turnout, it seems that Election Day for mayors and municipal councils across the country has become more of a holiday, especially in malls and shopping centers.
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According to data from SHVA, the national credit card payment system administrator and developer, despite the ongoing war and the rising tension in the north, the Israeli public has taken advantage of Tuesday's Election Day to go shopping.
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הקניון הגדול בפתח תקווה ביום הבחירות לרשויות המקומיות
הקניון הגדול בפתח תקווה ביום הבחירות לרשויות המקומיות
A shopping mall in Rehovot
(Photo: Natali Cohen)
Even malls, which typically experience calm traffic, witnessed unusual crowds. The holiday crowds in shopping centers were, of course, due in part to the day off, as well as special Election Day promotions and sales offered in malls. Additionally, deals also could be found on the websites of retail chains.
Omer Ogolnik, vice president of Trade and Operations Manager of Ofer Malls, reported an 80% increase in the number of visitors compared to a regular day during the same hours, and a 20% increase from the last Election Day. Coffee shop chains also reported a better Election Day crowd than the previous one. Some visitors changed their plans for outings and ultimately ended up in malls due to rain.
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ביג אשדוד ביום הבחירות המקומיות
ביג אשדוד ביום הבחירות המקומיות
A shopping center in Ashdod
(Photo: Big Ashdod)
According to data from SHVA, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., purchases totaling over 928 million shekels were recorded – a 12.9% increase compared to the last Election Day in November 2022, when purchases during those hours amounted to 822.89 million shekels. In the previous municipal elections, held on October 30, 2018, purchases during those hours amounted to only 524.08 million shekels.
Furthermore, SHVA reported that, compared to last Friday, a weekend day in Israel, Tuesday's purchase volume is higher by over 5%. The busiest minute so far was at 12:53 p.m., with purchases totaling 2.66 million shekels.
These figures underscore the significant economic activity accompanying Election Day, with people engaging in shopping and spending across various sectors.
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