With 86% of votes tallied, Netanyahu on cusp of election victory
With 86% of the ballots counted, the pro-Netanyahu coalition is expected to gain 65 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, a comfortable majority for the corrupt former Israeli PM.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on the cusp of returning to power, with initial election results showing his extreme right alliance taking the lead, though narrowly.
With 86% of the ballots counted, the pro-Netanyahu bloc was expected to gain 65 members in the 120-seat Knesset, a comfortable majority for the corrupt former PM.
Israeli officials had yet to begin tallying the so-called double-envelope ballots cast by members of the security forces, prisoners, people with disabilities, diplomats serving abroad, and others, so the numbers are expected to shift. However, a significant shift in the balance between Netanyahu's bloc and its opponents is unlikely.
If the numbers don't alter dramatically, it will be a comeback for Netanyahu, who is presently on trial in three corruption charges.
Following Tuesday's Israeli Knesset elections, preliminary projections suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu was within striking distance of a governing majority and of staging a comeback. However, the picture may change as official results come in.
Although the margins were tight, which is an expected scenario in the bitterly divided occupation government holding its fifth election in less than four years, the right-wing occupation leader was leading early on.
According to predictions from three Israeli networks, Netanyahu's Likud will likely take over the 120-seat Knesset with 30 or 31 seats to spare.
The initial projections indicated that this number, along with anticipated totals for the two ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties and the extreme-right "Religious Zionism alliance," gave the coalition supporting Netanyahu between 61 and 62 seats.
However, those things are subject to change, and prior Israeli elections have demonstrated that even small variations as the votes are officially tallied can significantly change the outlook.
With projections putting centrist Yesh Atid between 22 and 24 seats, caretaker PM Yair Lapid's party was on track to finish in second place as expected.
This comes after the Israeli occupation's former PM seemed to be struggling to achieve a majority in the Knesset in light of the rising anti-Netanyahu rhetoric among his opponents.
The occupation's opposition leader would come within a single seat of having a majority in the upcoming election, which is the fifth in less than four years.
If the election process does not give either side a majority, a deadlock would dominate the political scene within the occupation's government while assigning incumbent Prime Minister Yair Lapid with the task of managing "Israel's" affairs as caretaker Prime Minister.
A similar deadlock saw Netanyahu ousted from office back in 2021 after four votes that did not deliver on a parliamentary majority, resulting in former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid's coalition taking over the Knesset.