In an apparent setback for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, exit polls show the Israeli leader has fallen short of securing a parliamentary majority with his hard-line allies.
The results posted by Israel’s three major TV stations indicate Netanyahu’s political future could now be in doubt.
The three stations all showed challenger Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud party. However, neither party controls a majority in the 120-seat parliament without the support of Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the midsize Yisrael Beitenu party.
The Times of Israel reports that Blue and White MK Yoaz Hendel says “the Netanyahu era is over” and calls for a unity government without him.
Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi says he’s “convinced” that the TV exit polls are all wrong. Netanyahu “will continue to lead us for the next five years,” he says.
The same sentiment was echoed by the Arab parties. The Joint List is celebrating the projections of the exit polls, which is giving the predominantly Arab alliance between 11 and 13 seats, making it the third-largest party in the Knesset. “The Netanyahu era is over. We are back as the third largest party in the Knesset,” declares Odeh triumphantly, according to the Kan public broadcaster.
The Arab parties ran on two separate slates in April, receiving just 10 seats combined. In 2015, the Joint List
Via AP / Times of Israel