The Israeli President will call the race…
By party seats in their legislature, the Knesset ?
That advantage will be from rightwing support that excludes the 20% of Israeli’s that are Arabs….
Even with a win?
Bibi Netanyahu has been put on notice…..
The Israeli leader will have to face criminal charges it appears also….
• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in position to win a fourth consecutive term on Wednesday, with nearly all of the votes counted. But the race was extremely tight, and his main rival, Benny Gantz, had also claimed victory, though he later tempered expectations.
• When the ballots are fully counted, it will be up to President Reuven Rivlin to choose the party leader he believes has the best chance of assembling a parliamentary majority. Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party and Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White alliance were running neck and neck, but a count of the broader blocs supporting each party gave Likud a clear advantage in being able to form a governing coalition.
• Regardless of the final result, the election appeared to be a grave scare for Mr. Netanyahu, 69, who has led Israel for a decade of relative security and prosperity. More than a million Israelis voted for Blue and White, a record for a new party, placing it in the position of being the main alternative to Israel’s right wing, a spot once held by the Labor Party.
Gantz acknowledges ‘odds not in our favor’
Having claimed victory after the first wave of exit polls, only to see later results appear to hand the election to Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Gantz, 59, wrote to supporters on Wednesday morning sounding at once less bullish but still hopeful…
Speaking to his supporters in the early hours of the morning, Netanayahu said he wanted to thank them “from the bottom of my heart.”
“It’s an unbelievable, tremendous victory,” Netanyahu said, with his wife, Sara, at his side.
Netanyahu had presented the election as a referendum on his leadership, and his beaming smile showed he believed he had succeeded in winning a new mandate from his people, despite his legal challenges. The attorney general in February recommended that the prime minister be indicted in three corruption cases, including on bribery, corruption and breach-of-trust charges, pending a hearing.
If he remains in power, Netanyahu would be in a much stronger position to fight the charges and draw out the legal process, analysts said. If he forms a new government and survives until July, he will make history, becoming the country’s longest-serving prime minister, outstripping Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion….
top image….Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel with his wife, Sara, waving to supporters at his Likud party headquarters on Tuesday night.CreditDan Balilty for The New York Times