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Netanyahu’s Likud, Gantz’s Blue and White Each See About 35 Seats

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, and former military chief of staff Benny Gantz’s Blue and White list, have both accrued 35 of the Israeli Knesset’s 120 seats, with 97 percent of the vote counted. However, by bloc, the right-wing so far has 65 seats compared to the Center-Left’s 55, indicating that President Reuven Rivlin is likely to turn to Netanyahu to form the next government. Blue and White initially had predicted leads ranging from one to four seats over the Likud. Shas and United Torah Judaism, the two main ultra-Orthodox parties, each now hold eight seats, followed by Hadash-Ta’al and Labor, with six each; United Right and Israel Beiteinu with five each; and Kulanu, Meretz and Ra’am-Balad with four each. In surprise upsets, the exit polls showed Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s New Right, and Mosher Feiglin’s Zehut, failing to pass the 3.25% electoral threshold, although uncounted votes could change that, primarily for New Right.