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Israel Now News is Israel's most comprehensive source for breaking news and current events from Israel and the Jewish world.

Benjamin Netanyahu Declares Victory in Israel Over Benny Gantz With 60 Seats

Michael Peres Journalist at Israel Now
Published on March 03, 2020
Benjamin Netanyahu Declares Victory in Israel Over Benny Gantz With 60 Seats
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the Israel election for the bloc of right-wing and religious parties that took place on Monday.

It was one less seat that was predicted for the majority in Knesset. Nevertheless, according to the exit polls that channeled through three television networks, the voter turnout finalized 71% – up from 69.8% in the previous election. Netanyahu tweeted “thank you”, after the bloc victory.

The first polls reported 36-37 seats for Netanyahu’s Likud. Their allied forces, UTJ and Yamina, won 9 in Shas, 7-8 and 6-7 respectively. While the polls for Blue and White showed 33 seats, with the allies Labor-Gesher-Meretz 6-7, the Joint List 14-15 and Yisrael Beytenu 6-8, cementing victory for Netanyahu.

Gantz gained one seat to the 34 while the blocs shifted steadily and it left the right-wing with 59 seats, as updated by Channel 13. The channel refreshed the seat numbers at around 1 a.m. Israel time.

The numbers should be subject to change overnight and abruptly, as the soldiers tend to vote for the right and they have not yet been recounted. The Joint List expects to go down a seat when soldiers vote and their votes are added.

Despite the stats, if the Right fails to grab its 61st seat, it could mean a lot because Otzma Yehudit refused to quit the election race, as opposed to Netanyahu’s repeated suggestions. This victory will most likely enable Netanyahu to form a coalition since December 2018.

Netanyahu had since consulted with the heads of the parties in his side after the exit polls. They agreed to form a spearhead nationalist government that will take place very soon.

Sources in Likud report that he will attempt to secure a government seat before facing a criminal trial in March 17.

They doubt that Benny Gantz, the Blue and White leader, would resign from politics. He has thanked his supporters and said: “I will continue to struggle for our ideology for you,” further cementing the fact that he will not resign from politics.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman ensures it’s not over: “We have to wait for the final results. Yisrael Beytenu won’t compromise a millimeter from what it promised its voters.”

There has been a very high turnout in the country, and no signs of voter apathy. The unprecedented third election in under a year influenced many citizens to cast their ballots to try and get the country to dodge the feared political stalemates. The voter turnout was 71%, up from 69.83% in September and 68.46% in April. More than 200,000 voters who cast ballots on Monday, haven’t voted in September, and this will hopefully spark a voting culture and avoidance of voter apathy.

There were special polling stations reserved for more than 4,000 quarantined coronavirus citizens, and the turnout was even higher among the 5,630 people quarantined. Gantz and his No. 2, Yair Lapid, took to the streets and urged people to vote with using megaphones. The party turnout in Tel Aviv has been unbelievably low, and very far behind the rest of the section turnouts around the country.

Netanyahu has since complained about the Judea and Samaria low turnout, as well as the small towns down South, as he urged Likud supporters to vote. The Likud complained that the press somehow managed to make it look like the party was well ahead. This completely discouraged voters to go out and vote in the final hours.

The campaigns didn’t go without controversies and forgeries. Complaints in the Central Elections Committee about forgeries and hidden ballots circulated. Not only that, Blue and White blamed Likud for editing, snipping, and doctoring a video of Gantz.

In the original video, Gantz warns Blue and White supporters: “If you don’t put Blue and White in the ballot box, there will be a fourth election.

The Likud managed to doctor the video and making their own video where Gantz says: “Don’t put Blue and White in the ballot box.

Head of the Central Elections Committee, Neal Hendel forced Likud to pay Blue and White NIS 7,500. They were also to promptly remove the slander video from Facebook and their social media pages.

Michael Peres

Michael Peres — Mikey to his friends — was born in Montreal, the biggest city in Canada’s Quebec province, in an orthodox Jewish community. Since then, his life has taken a few different twists and turns, but currently, he’s as a software engineer, mathematician, founder, radio host, and a full-time traveller. Peres currently resides in Seattle, Washington, which he uses as an operating base for his various projects.

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