Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in a battle for political survival following Tuesday’s election, and the race canceled the call and the strength of the Israeli leader in power for a decade.
Netanyahu’s chief rival, Benny Gantz, said on Wednesday the poll results showed the longest-serving Israeli leader had been lost, but would not give official results.
In his speech to Netanyahu, a loyalist of the right-wing Likud party, which frequently drops water and speaks harshly, made no claim of victory or defeat in concession, saying he was waiting for a vote count.
Netanyahu’s presence in the middle of the night at the Likud election headquarters was far from his victorious announcement five months ago that he had won a close election. His failure to form a government after the April vote led to new elections on Tuesday.
Gantz, the former commander of the armed forces, smiled confidently telling a crowd of his blue and white party that he was “accomplishing his mission” and his determination to work towards a unity government.
Netanyahu, apparently “did not succeed in his mission” to win a fifth term.
The final election result may take more than a week, but partial results are published by the Knesset as a counting procedure, so a clear picture will be revealed one day before the final outcome.
About a quarter of the votes had been counted
A revised poll conducted by Israeli television stations, hours and hours after the closure of ballot boxes, gave the 120-seat Likud 30 to 33 seats, a slight drop from previous expectations, compared to 32 and 34 for blue and white.
At first glance, the ruling coalition was not sufficiently supported by 61 lawmakers, and Netanyahu’s rival, former ally, former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a potential kingmaker as head of the remote Yisrael Beiteinu party.
The updated polls revealed that without an estimate of eight to nine seats in Yisrael Pew, the stalemate could be certain: Likud would receive the support of only 55 lawmakers, down 57 from the previous exit poll, in favor of the right-wing coalition. Blue and white can list more than 59 support for the center-left government.
Netanyahu, who revealed his close relationship with US President Donald Trump during the campaign, said in his speech at 3 pm at the Likud election headquarters in Tel Aviv that he aims to create a “strong Zionist government” will be part of the views of “many.”
Will reflect the people of the country
His description of future administrations seemed to open the way for Jewish parties not to join his current government.
It was also a severe blow to Gantz, and the potential for Netanyahu’s opponents to try to form a governing coalition with the tacit support of an Arab party, which many rightists see as uninterested in Israel.
The United Arab List achieved strong results in Tuesday’s elections, and is expected to hold 13 to 15 seats in the Legislative Council, compared to 10 won by various Arab factions in the April elections.
Coalition building can be complicated: Lieberman said he will not join a coalition of traditional allies of ultra-conservative parties – Netanyahu.
Lieberman participated in a forum to undermine the influence of religious parties on daily life in Israel.
If the Israeli leader is convicted of corruption, Gantz refuses to co-manage with Netanyahu.
Accusation of corruption
The 69-year-old Netanyahu was dubbed “King Bibi” by his supporters, who had run in elections in April.
Three investigations into corruption and Israel’s attorney general for fraud and bribery have also plummeted after 10 years in what appears to be invincible in Netanyahu, a sharp focus on security for 10 consecutive years as prime minister. Marked
Netanyahu, who can argue against the indictment at a pre-trial hearing in October, has denied any wrongdoing.
Without a shield of parliamentary immunity, electoral loss could put him at risk of prosecution in corruption cases that his current political allies have promised to seek.
“Until the miraculous shift between the exit poll and the actual results, Netanyahu’s mantra is broken,” wrote Netanyahu’s biographer, Anvil Pfeiffer, in the daily Lefty Hatties.
The campaigns run by Likud, Blue and White pointed to narrow differences only on a number of important issues: the regional conflict against Iran, the Palestinian conflict, the United States, and relations with the economy.
The peace process with the Palestinians since the end of the Netanyahu era is unlikely to bring about a tangible policy change on the highly contested issues that collapsed five years ago.
Before the last election, Trump granted Netanyahu US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Syria occupied in the 1967 Middle East war. This time the White House is more active with Iran.
The Trump administration soon plans to issue an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that could prove to be a dead message: the Palestinians rejected it in advance as biased.
Netanyahu, widely seen as an attempt to withdraw votes from extremist parties, announced his intention last week to expel the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, where Palestine seeks statehood.
But in pursuit of peace, Azraq and White also said he would bolster Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank to the Jordan Valley as Israel’s “eastern security border.”
In Gaza, Palestinians await the results of the vote.
“This election affects many things in our lives,” said Mohamed Abdel Hay Hassanein, a guard in the town of Khan Younis. “There may be a limited increase after the election, but I don’t think it will lead to a full war.”