Israel/Netanyahu elections: "We are close to a great victory"

"We are close to a great victory," said former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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"We are close to a great victory," former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today, after yesterday's election that appears to have put his Likud (right) party, along with its religious and far-right allies, on the road. to secure a majority in the Knesset, the Israeli national representation.

Assuring that he has plenty of "experience", Mr. Netanyahu told his supporters gathered in Jerusalem that "we have to wait for the final results, but our course, that of Likud, turned out to be the right one" and "we are close to a big win".

"We don't know the results yet, but if tonight's (exit) polls are as they predict, I will form a government for all the citizens of Israel," added Mr. Netanyahu, who remained longer than anyone else in the office of prime minister from the establishment of a state.

Amid corruption trials following a series of scandals, which he carefully avoided touching on in his speech today, Mr Netanyahu lost power last year, ousted by a motley coalition now led by centrist Yair Lapid.

However, the six polls and forecasts by Israeli television networks credit Likud with first place and around thirty seats, ahead of Mr. Lapid's Yesh Atid ("There is a future"), which is expected to take around twenty-four, after yesterday's vote, the fifth in less than four years.

At the same time, the "Religious Zionism" faction is on its way to doubling its strength, electing 14 MPs, while small parties of ultra-orthodox Jews are also expected to perform well.

So Mr. Netanyahu is on his way to securing a majority of seats in the Knesset, including the religious party and far-right MPs.

Israel's national election commission has so far released only a few results, which do not allow for safe conclusions to be drawn about the outcome.

Yair Lapid: "Nothing has been decided", "we have to wait for the final results"

"We have to wait for the final results" as "nothing has been decided" yet in Tuesday's parliamentary elections in Israel, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said today, whose party is reportedly on course to become the second party in the Knesset. .

"Until the last ballot has been counted, nothing has been decided. We will wait patiently, however anxiously, for the final results," Mr. Lapid told a gathering of supporters of his Yes Atid ("There Is a Future") party in Tel Aviv.

According to forecasts by Israeli television networks, Likud, the right-wing party of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will take first place by securing about thirty seats in the Israeli national delegation, ahead of Mr. Lapid's Yesh Atid, which is expected to field 24 members in the Knesset. .

After the parliamentary elections in the spring of 2021, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett formed a motley alliance with the main, if not the only, common denominator of driving Mr. Netanyahu from power. But that alliance has lost its majority in recent months, leading to yesterday's vote, the fifth in a row in less than four years in Israel.

"We have no intention of stopping. "Every Israeli citizen, religious or not, left or right, Jewish or Arab, heterosexual or LGBT, must know that we will continue to fight for Israel to be a Jewish and democratic, liberal and progressive state," Mr. Lapid said at the rally. in Tel Aviv, his stronghold.

Mohamed Stageh: The results testify to the "rise of extremism"

The results of the parliamentary elections held yesterday Tuesday in Israel testify to the "rise of extremism and racism" in Israeli society, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Stageh commented today, after the publication of six polls that record a jump in the votes of the Israeli extreme right.

"The increase in the percentages of far-right religious parties in the Israeli elections (…) testifies to the rise of extremism and racism in Israeli society, from which our people have been suffering for years," Mr. Stageh emphasized in a press release he gave on display in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority.

"We had no illusions that the Israeli elections would reveal a partner for peace," Mr. Stageh added.

The Religious Zionist faction is on course to double its strength, picking up 14 members in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in exit polls that also bode well for so-called ultra-Orthodox religious parties.

According to the exit polls, Mr. Netanyahu is on course to secure a majority of seats in the Knesset if the seats of the religious parties and the far right are included.

"The results show that Netanyahu has a better chance of forming a government with fascists on his side. And this worries us a lot (…) as it shows the direction this country is taking and what awaits the Palestinians who live in this country," Aida Touma-Suleiman, an MP from the Israeli Arab Hadas-Taal faction, pointed out to AFP. "Democratic Front for Peace and Equality").

Israel's Arab minority (about 20% of the population) consists mainly of the descendants of Palestinians who remained in their lands after the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948.