General Elections took place in Israel on April 9th. As of 13:30 local time on April 10th 97% of the vote was counted.
The result shows a tie between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and his main opponent Benny Gantz, heading the centrist Blue and White Alliance. They each had 29.2% of the vote, sharing 35 seats in the Knesset.
The Guardian cited data provided by Times of Israel, according to which several Israeli settlements had more ballots submitted than voters. The extra vote was mostly to Netanyahu’s party’s favor.
- In the northern West Bank settlement of Peduel, voter turnout was 113% with 894 ballots cast and 789 residents who were eligible to vote.
- In the southern West Bank settlement of Negohot, voter turnout was 143% with 125 ballots cast and 87 residents who were eligible to vote.
- In the ultra-Orthodox West Bank settlement of Modiin Illit, voter turnout was 104% with 19,989 ballots cast and 19,103 residents who were eligible to vote.
- In the northern West Bank settlement of Bruchin voter turnout was 167%, with 385 ballots cast and 230 residents who were eligible to vote.
On the evening after the elections, Benjamin Netanyahu greeted supporters by saying that “This is a night of great victory!”
“This is a night of great victory,” Netanyahu said, adding that Likud had seen an “amazing success. I’m very touched that, for the fifth time, the people of Israel have believed in me.”
Meanwhile, Likud Knesset member Miki Zohar appeared to launch a campaign to exonerate prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the allegations facing him in three corruption cases.
“The people decided that the cases [against Netanyahu] aren’t criminal in nature,” Zohar said. “The public thinks that there is a line that the courts and law enforcement should not cross — that’s the line the prime minister was on. You can’t cross this line and get to the point where you’re arguing that a politician speaking with the media committed a criminal act.”
Netanyahu’s main political opponent in the election, Benny Gantz tweeted the following in the morning following the election day:
“Good morning, fellas. Yes, Good morning! The reports tell their unfinished story. While there are dark skies, but there are no two things:
1) There is nothing final about them, because there may be electoral movements and we may be able to develop such political moves or others.
2) It is certainly not to conceal the sun of Hope.
That we gave to the people and society in Israel. They, our constituents, asked for hope and we gave it to them. They wanted another way and we took it. So, comrades, ‘your enemies have fallen into view and his godbroken into thy heart’.
Therefore, we do not retreat from our public duty to represent more than one million citizens who have asked us something else. An unprecedented historical achievement in the EMUs. We have something to be proud of and become.”
חברים בוקר טוב… כן בוקר טוב!
הדיווחים מספרים את סיפורם הלא סופי.
אמנם מסתמנים שמים קודרים אך אין בהם שני דברים:
1) אין בהם דבר סופי שכן יתכן ויהיו תנועות אלקטוראליות ויתכן ונוכל לפתח מהלכים פוליטיים כאלו או אחרים.
2) בוודאות אין בהם בכדי להסתיר את שמש התקווה >>
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) April 10, 2019
Two world leaders had congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu over his victory prior to the final results of the poll being counted.
Those were Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Congratulations to Prime Minister @netanyahu for an excellent showing in yesterday's national elections. While the official results have yet not been published, one matter is clear: you have – once again – gained the trust of the people of #Israel in record numbers.
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) April 10, 2019
My dear friend Bibi, Congratulations! You are a great friend of India, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to take our bilateral partnership to new heights. @netanyahu
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 10, 2019
An aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the outcome of the election boosts the “extreme right-wing camp” in Israeli politics and raises Palestinian fears over the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank. Prior to the election, Abbas aide Ahmed Majdalani said that Palestinians would seek international help to avoid annexation.
“The Palestinian cause is totally absent in the Israeli elections, and when it comes, it comes only in a negative context. This is worrisome, because it tells us that we are going from bad to worse.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh offered a pessimistic view of the outcome, saying, “the competition in Israeli elections is between those who want to annex Palestinian territories and those who want to maintain the status quo.” Speaking to CNN from Ramallah, the PA Prime Minister said, “we will live with dangerous Israeli politicians.”
Also prior to elections Netanyahu vowed to “impose sovereignty.”
“We will move to the next stage . . . I will impose sovereignty, but I will not distinguish between settlement blocs and isolated settlements,” Netanyahu said. “From my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have responsibility, as the Israeli government. I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians.”
A Palestine Liberation Organization official, Hanan Ashrawi said that Israelis chose racism and permanent conflict by voting for candidates that are “unequivocally committed” to a “status quo of oppression.”
“The extremist and militaristic agenda, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has been emboldened by the Trump administration’s reckless policies and blind support. This cynical alliance against Palestinian rights and the standing of the rules-based international order remains unchallenged by the rest of the international community, thereby reinforcing the rightist and populist agendas.”
It should be noted that the close results are possibly a result of several Netanyahu shenanigans leading up to election day. They are as follows:
- A billboard to promote the close friendship between US President Donald Trump and Netanyahu.
- Destruction of alleged Hezbollah tunnels, whose existence was known for years, but it was simply “too early” to deal with them prior to several before election.
- Trump’s March 21st recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and the previous recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
- Finally, Netanyahu boasting that it was his suggestion that Trump designated the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “terrorist organization.”
So, as of now it appears that the Israeli Prime, Defense, Health and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to get his 5th term in the Prime Minister seat.
When the ballots are fully counted, Israel President Reuven Rivlin will have to choose the party leader he believes has the best chance of assembling a parliamentary majority. A count of the broader blocs supporting each party gave Likud a clear advantage in being able to form a governing coalition.
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- Netanyahu: Israel Coonsiders Officially Annexing Parts Of West Bank