Exit polls suggest Netanyahu has fallen short of Knesset majority
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Exit polls suggest Netanyahu has fallen short of Knesset majority

Early signs from Israel's three major TV stations indicate that challenger, Benny Gantz, may be slightly ahead of the incumbent

Benny Gantz, former Israeli Army Chief of Staff and chairman of the Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance, seen after he cast his vote during the Israeli legislative elections, in Rosh Haayin, Israel, 17 September 2019.. Photo by: JINIPIX
Benny Gantz, former Israeli Army Chief of Staff and chairman of the Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance, seen after he cast his vote during the Israeli legislative elections, in Rosh Haayin, Israel, 17 September 2019.. Photo by: JINIPIX

Exit polls suggest Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fallen short of securing a parliamentary majority following a snap election.

The results posted by Israel’s three major TV stations showed challenger Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party slightly ahead of Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party.

However, neither party controls a majority in the 120-seat parliament without the support of Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the Yisrael Beitenu party.

Mr Netanyahu had sought to secure a majority with his allies to secure immunity from an expected indictment on corruption charges.

The results raise the likelihood of a unity government among the three parties, but it is unclear what part Mr Netanyahu could take in that.

The longest serving leader in Israeli history is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office and fifth overall. But he faces a stiff challenge from Mr Gantz.

Mr Netanyahu had tried to portray himself as a seasoned statesman who is uniquely qualified to lead the country through challenging times. Mr Gantz tried to paint Mr Netanyahu as divisive and scandal-plagued, offering himself as a calming influence and honest alternative.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his wife Sara Netanyahu (L) cast their ballots during the Israeli legislative elections, at a polling station in Jerusalem, 17 September 2019. . Photo by: Alex kolomoisky-JINIPIX

After casting his ballot in Jerusalem, Mr Netanyahu predicted the vote would be “very close”.

“It’s not in the bag. But if you go (vote), we will win,” Mr Netanyahu blared through a megaphone to shoppers at a Jerusalem market after stopping at other Likud strongholds in the city.

Voting in his hometown of Rosh Haayin in central Israel, Mr Gantz urged all Israelis to hope.

“We will bring hope, we will bring change, without corruption, without extremism,” he said.

The election marks their second showdown of the year after drawing even in the previous one in April.

At the time, Mr Netanyahu appeared to have won another term, with his traditional allies of nationalist and ultra-religious Jewish parties controlling a parliamentary majority.

But Avigdor Lieberman, his mercurial ally-turned-rival, refused to join the new coalition, citing excessive influence it granted the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties. Without a parliamentary majority, Mr Netanyahu dissolved parliament and called a new election.

Opinion polls have forecast similar results this time, potentially putting Mr Lieberman once again in the role of kingmaker.

After voting, Mr Lieberman reiterated his promise to avoid a third election and force a secular unity government between Likud and Blue and White.

The leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) right-wing nationalist party Avigdor Liberman votes with is wife Ella in the settlement of Nokdim, West Bank, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Photo by: JINIPIX
Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments