Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wins Re-Election despite Pending Criminal Indictment

Head of the Blue White party Benny Gantz and his top allies Moshe Ya'alon Gabi Ashkenazi and Yair Lapid greet their party supporters following the release of election exit polls at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv

Meanwhile, the incumbent's chief opponent, Benny Gantz's centrist Blue and White party, also looks on the cusp of winning 35 seats.

But it's just as true that neither Netanyahu's biggest rival in these elections, ex-military chief Benny Gantz, or any other leading Israeli politician would be able to adopt a fundamentally different stance towards the Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries.

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 the top job. The third exit poll predicted this bloc would be tied with center-left parties that Gantz would have to enlist to form a coalition government.

"I am very moved on this night", he told gathered supporters on Tuesday.

"The digital effort here was in the micro-targeting - getting the "right" people to come out and vote after creating pressure on the Arabs not to", Altshuler said.

"The biggest issue is Netanyahu himself: whether Israelis are exhausted of Netanyahu, whether they're put off by the stench of corruption that surrounds him, whether they want a change, or whether they prefer to stick with a safe pair of hands and a statesman that obviously enjoys good relations with many world leaders", Northeastern University Professor Dov Waxman told RT. "There's actually been very little debate - a striking lack of debate - over Israeli policies".

Follows what had been expected to be a close vote... But Netanyahu was in a stronger position to form a coalition government with the anticipated support of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, Likud's natural allies.

"We won! The Israeli public has had its say!"

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Nearly 200 progressive British Jews watched the election results come in at the JW3 culture centre in Finchley, listening to a panel of Israeli and Palestinian experts convened by Yachad, New Israel Fund and One Voice. Exit polls all projected the iconic Labor party, which ruled the country for its first 30 years, tumbling to single digits in the parliament.

Mr Netanyahu faced further criticism on election day when members of his Likud party brought small cameras into polling stations in Arab areas. On April 9, 2019, Mahmoud Abbas played the supposedly "neutral" game when he said during a tour of a Ramallah hospital, "We are watching what's happening with our neighbor, and we hope they will take the right path toward peace".

A victory would make Mr Netanyahu the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's 71-year history. "They have chosen an overwhelmingly right-wing, xenophobic and anti-Palestinian parliament to represent them", she said. Mr Trump has already announced that Mr Netanyahu's victory means a "better chance" for the "deal of the century".

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat lamented that the Israelis voted to maintain "the status quo". Every government has been a coalition.

Palestinians seek a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In another sign of Israel's current feeling of strength, PM Netanyahu insisted last week that he would refuse removal of any Jewish settlements built inside occupied Palestinian land as part of any peace plan. There is no majority for that in Israel right now.

Gantz said he favored a "globally backed peace agreement" with Israel holding on to the large West Bank settlement blocs, adding he opposed unilateral moves.

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