Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday evening, March 23, 2021, that he had achieved a big victory in the Israeli elections, although the final results had not yet been officially announced.
Netanyahu, in a tweet on his personal account on the social networking site Twitter, said: “It is clear that a large majority of Israeli citizens belong to the right, and they want a strong and stable right-wing government that preserves the economy of Israel and the security of Israel and the Land of Israel. This is what we did. I love you.” He added, “Citizens of Israel – thank you! You have given the right and Likud a great victory under my leadership.”
The Likud party headed by Benjamin Netanyahu had topped the results of the fourth legislative elections in two years in Israel, according to opinion polls conducted as voters left the polling stations, which closed at 22:00 (20:00 GMT) Tuesday.
Consequently, he will be more likely to form the next government. Meanwhile, Naftali Bennett, 49, the head of the hard-line right-wing party, has imposed himself as the new “kingmaker” and may play a role in facilitating or obstructing Netanyahu’s mission.
According to polls published after the polls closed, the right-wing camp led by Netanyahu (Likud and extreme right-wing parties) won between 53 and 54 seats, which prevents it from being able to form a government, as it needs the support of 61 members.
And behind it is the Yesh Atid party headed by the centrist Yair Lapid, who will get between 16 and 18 seats.
The “Yamina” party will get seven to eight seats. The polls showed that the Joint Arab List would get eight to nine seats, and the hard-line religious Shas Party of Eastern Jews would get a similar number.
Meanwhile, the Labor Party headed by Merav Michaeli and the Blue and White Lafan Party led by Defense Minister Benny Gantz will each get seven to eight seats.
“This is just the beginning,” said Merav Michaeli.
Gratitude to the electorate
For his part, Gantz expressed his gratitude to his voters who had shown their confidence in his party, saying, “Starting tomorrow, I will do my best to unite the pro-change bloc. If I am forced to face a fifth round of elections, I will vigilantly protect our democracy, the rule of law and security. Because Israel comes first.”
If Bennett joins Netanyahu, it will be enough for the outgoing prime minister to form a right-wing government. Bennett disagrees with Netanyahu over his handling of the political crisis.
“I will only do whatever is useful to the State of Israel,” Bennett said in his first comment after the initial results appeared, without revealing all of his papers.
On the other hand, the religious Zionist party led by Itamar Ben Gvir, who welcomed the killing of 29 Palestinian worshipers in Hebron in 1994 at the hands of the militant Baruch Goldstein, would win the United Torah Judaism party for Western Jews from six to seven seats. As well as the left-wing Meretz party.
The non-final official results will be published at night. The Electoral Commission announced that it may announce the final results on Friday.
The majority to form the government
Netanyahu needs a majority of 61 MPs to form a government. He will likely ally with the religious parties and the far right for the first time. While Lapid is betting on understandings with the left and center parties, or even the right, which disappointed him with Netanyahu.
Bennett did not rule out joining an anti-Netanyahu government before the election.
Over the weekend, Israelis celebrate Passover. After him, President Roevt Rivlin will ask incoming lawmakers to choose a candidate capable of obtaining a majority in the Knesset to form a government.
While Israelis voted Tuesday in the fourth legislative elections in two years, they are sharply divided over whether the outgoing Israeli prime minister should remain in power.
Today witnessed low voter turnout, during which a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip, the first since January.
The longest in the history of Israel
Netanyahu (71 years), who held the post of prime minister for the longest period in Israel’s history, is hoping for a new victory, despite his failure after the last three experiences in forming a stable majority government and facing three charges of corruption.
“I hope these elections will be the last” to get out of the political impasse, when casting his vote in the morning in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem.
While 6.5 million Israelis were invited to participate in the vote. The polling turnout at 20:00 (18:00 GMT) was five points lower in percentage than it was at the same time in last year’s elections.
Netanyahu’s confrontation differed this time, as it came after his leadership of vigorous efforts to vaccinate against the Corona virus in a vaccination campaign that achieved great success and is considered the fastest in the world at the individual level after vaccinating more than half of the population of Israel, whose number exceeds nine million, with a first dose and about 49% by dose. The second of the Pfizer / Bionic vaccine.
The Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, signed between the Israeli and Palestinian sides in 1993, and later the second Palestinian intifada, led to the drifting of the Israeli electorate to the right.
Netanyahu, 71, is the most permanent Israeli prime minister and was able to seize power after two years of inconclusive elections, despite his corruption trial. He is currently on trial on charges of bribery and abuse of power. Netanyahu denies the accusations.
He is also the most prominent political figure of his generation and has been in power since 2009. But Israeli voters are deeply divided as his supporters call him “King Bibi” while his opponents call him “the criminal of ministers” instead of “the prime minister).