Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Projected To Win Elections

Israelis head to polls as Prime Minister Netanyahu seeks fifth term

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured path to victory in Israel's election on Wednesday after almost complete results put him in position to form a right-wing coalition and further extend his long tenure in office.

With around 95 percent of the vote counted, both Netanyahu's Likud party and Gantz's Blue and White were tipped to win 35 seats in Israel's 120-member Knesset, or parliament. The prime minister met with Trump in the White House March 25, during which Trump said the USA would recognize Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

In Rosh Ha'ayin, Blue and White trailed behind the Likud with 33.9% to 34.8%.

Netanyahu's message of unity was a sharp contrast from his campaign theme in which he accused Gantz of conspiring with Arab parties to topple him.

Exit polls all projected the iconic Labor party, which ruled the country for its first 30 years, tumbling to single digits in the parliament.

By Wednesday morning, with 97 percent of the votes counted, Likud and Blue and White had won 35 seats each. "They asked for a different path, and we showed them the way".

But as results trickled in throughout the night, the Likud appeared to be gaining strength. The former military chief Mr Gantz ran, essentially, as the man who was not Mr Netanyahu but could match him for "toughness" on security.

Second, the election confirms that the Trump administration will give both unstintingly and enthusiastically to the Israeli right.

He sought to overcome Netanyahu's experience by allying with two other former military chiefs and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid.

Netanyahu has called the Israeli probes a "witch hunt", echoing his good friend, U.S. President Donald Trump, who used the same words to describe the investigation of his 2016 election campaign. "I think we have a chance and I think we now have a better chance", he said.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to his supporters after polls for Israel's general elections closed in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, April 10, 2019. He tapped into some of the most politically conservative Israeli voters when he promised to annex Jewish West Bank settlements if re-elected, he said Saturday according to The New York Times.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu said he had already started coalition talks with right-wing parties, despite the results of Tuesday's parliamentary elections not being officially revealed yet. Gantz was able to challenge Netanyahu on security issues, normally the prime minister's strong suit, while also taking aim at his alleged ethical lapses.

His nationalist base rallied to his aid, cushioning him against likely charges, and if current trends hold, he would have led Likud to one of its best showings ever in Tuesday's closely fought elections.

The right-wing bloc includes the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and the United Torah Judaism, each with eight seats; the far-right parties of the United Right and Israel Our Home, each with five seats; and the party of Kulanu with four seats.

His comments were an apparent reference to Netanyahu's recent pledge to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he wins the election.

[A] lways, our president from Eisenhower - from all the way up to W.they've always played this other role as honest broker in the region so they can bring peace and play a bigger global role than just being buddies with Israel.

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