Israel’s Netanyahu wins re-election, main challenger concedes defeat


JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a clear path to re-election on Wednesday, with religious-rightist parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority and his main challenger conceding defeat.

With more than 99 percent of votes counted – ballots cast by soldiers at military bases will be tallied over the next two days – Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party looked likely to muster enough support to control 65 of the Knesset’s 120 seats and be named to head the next coalition government. 

It would be Netanyahu’s record fifth term as premier.

In a televised statement, Yair Lapid, number two in the centrist Blue and White party led by former general Benny Gantz, said: “We didn’t win in this round. We will make Likud’s life hell in the opposition.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, who Netanyahu featured on campaign billboards to highlight their close relationship, phoned to congratulate him on his re-election, the Israeli leader said, adding that he thanked his American ally for “tremendous support for Israel”.

Netanyahu tweeted that Trump had called him from Air Force One. The president was on a flight to Texas.

Trump told reporters at the White House that Netanyahu’s re-election improved the chances of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. “He’s been a great ally and he’s a friend. I’d like to congratulate him on a well-thought-out race.”

A team led by Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, but it has not disclosed details. Palestinians, angered by what they see as Trump’s pro-Israel bias, have called it a non-starter.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Twitter he would begin meeting next week with political parties that won parliamentary seats to hear who they support for prime minister.

At the sessions, which Rivlin said would be broadcast live “to ensure transparency”, he will then pick a party leader to try to form a coalition, giving the candidate 28 days to do so, with a two-week extension if needed.

The close and often vitriolic contest was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Netanyahu’s character and record in the face of corruption allegations. He faces possible indictment in three graft cases, and has denied wrongdoing in all of them.

Despite that, Netanyahu gained four seats compared to his outgoing coalition government, according to a spreadsheet published by the Central Elections Committee of parties that garnered enough votes to enter the next parliament.

“It is a night of colossal victory,” the 69-year-old Netanyahu told cheering supporters in a late-night speech at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv after Tuesday’s vote.

“He’s a magician!” the crowd chanted as fireworks flared and Netanyahu kissed his wife Sara. Earlier that night, Gantz had claimed victory.

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange main indexes were up nearly 1 percent in late trading on Wednesday, displaying confidence in a veteran prime minister who has overseen a humming economy and blunted various security threats, including from Syria.

Netanyahu was now poised to become, in July, the longest-serving Israeli prime minister, overtaking the country’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion. That could be scuppered if criminal charges are filed and force his removal.

18 thoughts on “Israel’s Netanyahu wins re-election, main challenger concedes defeat

  1. At 96 percent they said either Gantz won or it was a standoff. Today I read Gantz was accused by some Dutch court of war crimes or something. I smell as “Hmmmmmmm” here.

  2. “He’s a magician!” the crowd chanted…”

    He’s a f$&king psychopath, is what he is.

    At least he didn’t start a war with Iran to stay in power.

    I’m taking the day off. Got into it with the lady at the donut shop yesterday… just as I was leaving. It was over the Holohoax (her f$&king grandfather was in WWII, and told her what horrible people those bad Germans were). I actually tried to avoid the confrontation, saying I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, but she insisted. It escalated to the point that she called me a liar, and I said “F$&K YOU!” You can call me any name in the book (and I’ll likely agree with you on most of them), but a liar is one thing you don’t want to call me to my face. I spent far too much time researching what I know (and losing all my sheeple friends & family in the process) for some country bumpkin braindead soccer mom to call me a f$&king liar… especially since she’s too stupid & unwilling to even look at the IRREFUTABLE PROOF of what I tell people.


    Like mary says… I hate people.

    That excludes Trenchers & and any who are awake, naturally.

    You’re REAL people… f$&k the rest. If Trenchers were the only ones left standing when the smoke clears… it wouldn’t break MY heart any.

    Now I’m going over to my friend Doc’s… and get HIGH AS F$&K!!!!!

    1. #1, I have to see his ugly face everywhere now, ugh! Hope you’re ok after that confrontation. So does this mean you won’t be going to the doughnut shop to get internet?

      Hope your day ends up better for you.

      1. Thanks, Katie.

        High as f$&k usually helps… a lot.

        I have store wifi that works for me now (didn’t for my first 3 years here). That’s how I’m able to post at night now. They open at the same time (six am), so I can actually afford to kick the donut shop to the curb, If I choose

    2. “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

      “No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

      “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

      “People are stupid. They will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true.”

      “The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see”

  3. They know we know the vote is rigged. But why are they still going back and forth on who really won. It changes every half hour or so. Is this to confuse us, or to show us how confused THEY are? Me hates ’em.


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