Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a historic fifth term in office with support from right-wing parties as the opposition leader Benny Gantz conceded on Wednesday, 10 April, reported Russia Today.
Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with Gantz’s centrist Blue and White Alliance, gaining 35 seats each, but right-wing parties led the way with 66-55 seats.
“We didn’t win in this round. We will make Likud’s life hell in the opposition,”said Yair Lapid, who was number 2 on the Blue and White Alliance ticket, during a televised statement.
2019 Election Emerges as Referendum on Netanyahu
The election has emerged as a referendum on Netanyahu and his 13 years overall in power, with the existential questions facing Israel rarely being discussed in the campaign. The 69-year-old prime minister has been the dominant force in Israeli politics for the past two decades and its face to the world.
But his various corruption scandals have created some voter fatigue, and in recent days he's vowed to annex Jewish West Bank settlements if re-elected — a prospect that could doom the already slim hopes of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, which Netanyahu has previously wavered on.
Benny Gantz Casts Vote, Calls for a "New Dawn"
Benny Gantz, the main challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel's general elections, has cast his ballot, calling for a "new dawn" in the country.
Gantz voted early on Tuesday in his hometown of Rosh Haayin in central Israel alongside his wife, Revital. He called on all Israelis to get out and vote, saying they should "take responsibility" for their democracy.
He said voting will "let us all wake up for a new dawn, a new history."
\Gantz's Blue and White party has inched ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud in polls. Netanyahu still appears to have the best chance of forming a coalition, though, with a smattering of small nationalist parties backing him.
Emotional Israel President Casts Vote Alone After 50 Years
An emotional Israel President Reuven Rivlin casted his vote on Tuesday, 9 April. With his wife hospitalised due to a lung transplant.
Rapper Urges Arab Voters to Resist Israel Election Boycott
A popular Arab rapper released a fiery new song ahead of Tuesday's Israeli elections, encouraging fellow Arab citizens to push back against their community's calls for a ballot boycott that appear to be gaining steam.
Tamer Nafar, a hip-hop star from the city of Lod, near Tel Aviv, produced the hit "Tamer Must Vote" in hopes of driving up Arab turnout as Israel's tumultuous campaign draws to a close.
PM Netanyahu Castes Vote, Calls it a 'Sacred Act'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cast his ballot in Israel's general elections.
Netanyahu voted on Tuesday in Jerusalem alongside his wife, Sara. He called on all Israelis to vote, calling it a "sacred act."
Israel's Centralist Leader Lapid Says his Party Close to Victory
Popular centrist politician, Yair Lapid has cast his ballot in Israel's elections for his Blue and White party while appealed the Israeli citizens to exercise their franchise.
Lapid had joined forces with former army chief Benny Gantz to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's long rule. Lapid voted near Tel Aviv, surrounded by activists and supporters, claiming his party is "just a step away from victory."
Speaking to the media, Lapid said, "We need two more seats to win these historic elections in Israel. A vote for any party except Blue and White is a vote for Netanyahu."
Lapid and Gantz, together with a slate of other ex-generals, formed the centrist Blue and White party in hopes of mobilizing opposition to Netanyahu, who faces serious corruption charges.
At Midday, Voter Turnout Stands at 24.8%
Israel's election committee said that the midday voter turnout stood at 24.8 percent, which is 2 percent lesser compared to the 2015 elections.
However, analysts predict that this number may increase, thereby surpassing the previous record while the voting continues.
What Do the Exit Polls Say?
Israeli exit polls indicate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and the rival Blue and White party are locked in a race that is too close to call.
Channels 12 and Kan TV gave the Blue and White party, headed by former military chief Benny Gantz, a narrow lead over the Likud, while Channel 10 TV showed them in a tie in Tuesday's vote.
The channels also gave different breakdowns for possible coalitions, with two stations giving Netanyahu's right-wing bloc a slight parliamentary majority while Channel 12 had them tied at 60 seats apiece.
With neither side having a clear advantage, they will have to wait for official results to come in overnight.
Netanyahu Appears to Edge Toward Re-election
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be headed toward re-election early Wednesday, 10 April, as exit polls and partial results showed him edging ahead of his main competitor in a tight race that was seen as a referendum on the long-serving leader.
Both Netanyahu and former military chief Benny Gantz, leader of the rival Blue and White party, declared victory in speeches to boisterous gatherings of supporters.
With a victory, Netanyahu would capture a fourth consecutive term and fifth overall, which this summer will make him Israel’s longest-ever serving leader. Perhaps more crucially, re-election will give him an important boost as he braces for the likelihood of criminal charges in a series of corruption scandals.
Netanyahu Wins Election, Secures Fifth Term as PM
Current Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be PM for some more time now, with reports suggesting that he has won the national election, securing a record fifth term in office, despite the neck-to-neck competition with his rival, Benny Gantz.
A Reuters report, citing three major Israeli TV channels said that Netanyahu has secured his fifth term as Prime Minister.
With 97 percent of the votes counted, Netanyahu and Gantz's parties both were tied at 35 seats, according to the Knesset website and the Israeli TV channels.
With 97 percent of the votes counted, neither of the candidates’ parties had captured a ruling majority, but Netanyahu, according to the report, is clearly in a strong position to form a coalition government with other right-wing factions that have backed him.
Netanyahu Says Trump Congratulated Him Over Call
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, US President Donald Trump called to congratulate him on his election win.
Netanyahu's office issued a statement saying Trump “warmly congratulated” Netanyahu, who thanked the president for his “great support for Israel,” including the White House's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Reports suggest that Netanyahu holds a slim lead over rival Benny Gantz and is likely to be able to form the next government.