Benjamin Netanyahu's rival party concedes Israeli election

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He says Netanyahu might see the next two years, while Trump's in office, as a chance to strike a "definitive blow that would end the Iran nuclear program".

The main rival of Netanyahu's party - the Blue and White alliance (led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid) - secured 35 seats.

You have made us proud to belong to the American Friends of Likud and we look forward to seeing you in the Knesset soon!

Throughout the campaign, Netanyahu highlighted his bond with US President Donald Trump, who has swung US policy sharply in Israel's favour and openly backed the prime minister.

Commentators have said the looming prospect of indictments in several corruption cases against Netanyahu makes him vulnerable to demands for concessions from smaller parties in any coalition bargaining. The president was on a flight to Texas.

The president added an optimistic prediction for progress towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians.


"Thank you, I wish you a happy holiday".

A team led by Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, but it has not disclosed details. But Blue and White cannibalized the older parties of the left, leaving some of them unable to cross the threshold for representation in parliament.

They leave President Reuven Rivlin, who must ask one of the candidates to form a government, with little choice but to pick Netanyahu.

Israel's attorney general has signaled that he's preparing to file corruption charges against Netanyahu. Netanyahu has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

The right-wing party captured 36 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, said the Yediot Aharonot daily, citing data from the Central Elections Committee.

"He's a magician!" the crowd chanted as fireworks flared and Netanyahu kissed his wife Sara. Earlier that night, Gantz had claimed victory.


Israel's millennials helped re-elect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - and are the driving force in a rising ultra-Orthodox population, The Wall Street Journal reported. The murder touched off a backlash against the right in Israel and against Netanyahu.

In Taybeh, an Arab town, Hadash party official Hosam Azem, 52, said: "Arabs who don't vote, majority don't do it for ideological reasons - just because they don't think their vote will have an impact", he said.

Trump almost always backs Netanyahu and has given him a series of wins: Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, taking tough steps against Iran.

"We hope that any security measures are implemented within the context of preserving the eventual possibility of a two-state solution", they wrote.

But even if he tries, it's unclear whether Netanyahu would have the votes to succeed.

"He's been more of a status quo-maintenance politician for many years, now faced with some momentous decisions", Shapiro said. We are talking about no less than 400 settlements (housing at least 400,000 settlers), all deemed illegal under global law, as they violate the law of occupation. Trump had already moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, an outcome long sought by Israel's right.


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