Israeli Election Too Close to Call, Though Netanyahu Wins Plurality

Israeli election poster (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty)
Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty

Israel’s fourth election in two years is too close to call, even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party won far more votes than any of its rivals on Tuesday.

Under Israel’s parliamentary system, a party or coalition of parties must win a combined total of 61 seats in the 120-member Knesset to form a governing majority. In this election, the major dividing line in Israeli politics is simply the question of Netanyahu himself, who has been in office since 2009.

As of early Wednesday morning Israel time, several exit pollsters had updated their projections from a narrow 61-59 majority for the “pro-Netanyahu” coalition to a 60-60 split between the “pro-” and “anti-Netanyahu” coalitions. The votes continue to be counted, and a final result may not be known until Friday.

There is no vote-by-mail in Israel, and absentee voting is limited to soldiers and diplomats. Israelis abroad who wish to vote must return home to do so. Arrangements are made for those with coronavirus or in quarantine to be able to vote safely.

Netanyahu declared victory on Tuesday evening, noting that his party, with more than 30 projected seats, was in a different “area code” than its closest rival, which will likely not even reach 20 seats.

If neither side can form a government, Israeli voters will head to the polls again.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new novel, Joubert Park, tells the story of a Jewish family in South Africa at the dawn of the apartheid era. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, recounts the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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