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Conceding defeat, Lapid wishes Netanyahu luck ‘for the sake of the Israeli people’


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Times Of Israel

Final election results show Likud leader to head 64-strong right-religious bloc in 120-seat Knesset despite only narrow lead in overall vote, as Meretz, Balad fall below threshold

Amy Spiro

Nov. 3 2022

As the final thousands of votes were being tallied Thursday evening, Prime Minister Yair Lapid called opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to concede the race and congratulate him on his election victory.

“The State of Israel is above any political considerations,” Lapid said in a statement. “I wish Netanyahu good luck for the people of Israel and the State of Israel.”

Lapid’s office said the outgoing prime minister told Netanyahu he has instructed all branches of his office to prepare for an orderly transfer of power.

With all the ballots tallied following Israel’s national election on Tuesday, Netanyahu will control not just the largest party in the Knesset, but is poised to return to power leading a 64-strong majority bloc of his religious and right-wing allies in the 120-member Knesset.

Netanyahu’s Likud will be the Knesset largest party, but the major success of the elections was the rise of the Netanyahu-allied, far-right Religious Zionism faction, which includes the Otzma Yehudit party of Itamar Ben Gvir, who was barred from IDF service because of his extremist activities and positions, and the anti-LGBT Noam party.

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The Return of Bibi Netanyahu

It turns out that, sometimes, the fifth time is a charm. With the final ballots now counted in Israel’s fifth national election in four years, the results are officially in: Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, already the longest-serving prime minister in the 74-year history of the modern Jewish state, is set to return as premier. After four elections of decisively mixed results, where both the Right — which has been addled by its disgruntled “Never Netanyahu” camp — and the Left have consistently failed to secure a durable governing coalition, the Israeli people have finally spoken up loud and clear: Bring Bibi back.

What’s more, the final results are actually far clearer than many had expected. Some pre-election polls had Netanyahu’s Likud and its allied parties polling highly enough to secure a bare 61-seat coalition majority — Israel’s Knesset, or national legislature, has 120 seats — but others did not. In the final count, the Likud-centric rightist coalition will attain 64 seats. That may sound like a narrow winning margin, but compared to the previous four indecisive elections going back to 2019, that is a monumental victory, at least comparatively speaking.:snip:

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