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Despite long odds, brutal attacks from the press in Israel and around the globe, and a meddling U.S. President, Bibi Netanyahu appears to have come out on top in today’s election. Here’s a quick round-up of coverage.
TV exit polls Tuesday night showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud set to retain the Israeli leadership at the end of a bitter election campaign. Netanyahu claimed victory early Wednesday morning, though his rival Isaac Herzog did not concede defeat.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and Israeli citizens headed for the ballots to vote for Israel’s 20th Knesset. Polls from the end of last week had left options open for a tight race. The TV exit polls were published at 10 p.m., as polling stations closed, after which official results began to roll in. The official final results won’t be publicized until Thursday.
…Unlike years past, analysts had said the race between Likud and Zionist Union, the two leading factions, was too close to call with confidence, but the exit polls showed Netanyahu clearly better placed to build the next coalition. At 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning, he delivered a celebratory speech in which he hailed a “victory against the odds… a victory for our people.”
A triumphant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud supporters in his victory speech early Wednesday that he would aim to form “a strong, stable government” that would tackle “security and socioeconomic challenges.”
Netanyahu told a jubilant crowd of Likud supporters early Wednesday morning that “against all odds, we have scored a major victory for the Likud.”
“Hail, hail, Bibi,” Likud adherents chanted as Netanyahu took to the podium on Wednesday.
“We have scored a major victory for the nationalist camp headed by Likud,” Netanyahu said.
“I’m proud of the Israeli people because at the moment of truth they knew to differentiate between challenge and nonsense and they took up the challenge,” the prime minister said.
TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overcame a strong challenge in Israel’s parliamentary elections Tuesday to finish in a virtual tie with his main opponent, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog, according to exit poll results reported by Israel’s three largest television news stations.
After the initial exit poll results were announced, Netanyahu declared victory on Twitter. He said he has already begun to call potential coalition partners about forming a new government.
“Against all odds, we achieved a great victory,” Netanyahu later told his supporters in a packed hall in Tel Aviv at around 1 a.m. Wednesday. “Now we have to form a strong and stable government.”
The crowd chanted, “No unity government!”
Netanyahu called the results “a miracle” and said his fellow Likud members were “magicians.”
But Herzog said Netanyahu’s victory declaration was premature. “This result enables us to return to power,” he told his supporters. “We’re going to wait for the true results. Every result right now is an exit poll. Everything is still open.”
Meanwhile, some “Dewey Defeats Truman” coverage from earlier today:
Bibi Netanyahu Shoots Himself in the Foot (Huffington Post)
Bye bye, Bibi: Why today will be different for Israel’s left-leaning coalition (Reuters)
Did Bibi’s speech hurt his chances? (Politico)