With 99.5% of the ballots counted in Israel’s election, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party is set to achieve a landslide victory and gain 29 seats in Israel’s next Knesset (Parliament).
With his party’s decisive victory, Netanyahu is expected to easily gather enough seats needed for a governing coalition and coast to the premiership of the State of Israel.
Exit polls had predicted that Netanyahu’s Likud would grab between 27 and 28 seats. The polls indicated that rival Prime Minister candidate Isaac Herzog and his leftwing Zionist Union would obtain 27 seats.
In the end, the center-left Zionist Union was left in the dust by Likud and garnered an underperforming 24 seats.
The Joint Arab List, a conglomerate of radical Islamist and leftist parties, will finish in third, picking up 14 representatives in the Knesset. They will undoubtedly be in the opposition.
The religious, capitalist Jewish Home party picked up eight representatives. Yisrael Beiteinu, which stands on a hawkish, secularist platform, gained six seats. They are both very likely to join Netanyahu’s coalition.
Israel’s orthodox parties in UTJ (United Torah Judaism) and Shas performed as expected, taking seven seats apiece. The two parties are likely to join Netanyahu’s governing bloc.
The Centrist Kulanu (All of us) party will obtain 10 seats. They have primarily campaigned with a focus on Israel’s economic issues, advocating for solutions to lower the cost of living. It remains unclear whether Kulanu will join the opposition or link up with Netanyahu’s alliance. Party leader Moshe Kahlon has said he will wait to align his party depending on the final results of the election.
Yesh Atid, a secularist, centrist party, will grab 11 representatives in the Knesset. Party leader Yair Lapid has not committed to either the governing coalition or the opposition.
The Communist-Socialist Meretz party underperformed, picking up only 4 seats, the least of the parties which have met the threshold needed for representation. The radical leftist party will almost certainly not join the governing coalition under Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Netanyahu thanked supporters Tuesday night for the “great victory” obtained by the Likud. “Against all odds, we have achieved a great victory for the Likud. We have achieved a great victory for the Likud-led nationalist camp and our people,” he said.
The Israeli Prime Minister continued: “I am proud of the people of Israel who, at the moment of truth, knew how to separate between the important and the secondary issues and focus on the important ones.”
He added: “Real security, a responsible economy, as well as social welfare. These are the things that are important to each family. Every father and mother, every young couple, every soldier, every citizen. And all Israeli citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike. All of you are important, and all of you are important to me.”