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Israeli Elections Not Much Different Than Previous 3 Attempts, Early Results Show 
The main contenders for prime minister are (L-R) Yamina head Naftali Bennett, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, incumbant Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud), and New Hope head Gideon Sa'ar.

Israeli Elections Not Much Different Than Previous 3 Attempts, Early Results Show 

In a turn of events nearly everyone could see coming, Israelis are none the wiser Wednesday morning about how their next government is going to look, after Tuesday’s election results apparently produced no clear winner. According to exit polls, and with over 88% of the vote counted, though without the so-called double-envelope ballots, it appears neither the pro-Binyamin Netanyahu bloc nor the assortment of parties opposed to his continued reign have netted the sought-after 61-seat majority, potentially – yet not surprisingly – plunging the beleaguered nation into a fifth election cycle in four years. Netanyahu and his rivals, chief among them Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and Yamina party chair Naftali Bennett, each gave cautious victory speeches during the night, calling on everyone in the political system to put aside their differences and place the good of the country first. Israel’s seemingly endless stalemate could theoretically be resolved if Netanyahu manages to form a narrow 61-seat coalition with the extreme right-wing parties and Bennett’s Yamina, or if the center-left bloc, splintered into a handful of small- to medium-sized parties, succeeds in luring Bennett over to its side, and for either side to include the Ra’am (United Arab List) party, which will enter the Knesset with up to five seats, in its configuration. Final results are expected by Friday morning; then Israel may – or may not – know where it is headed.

 

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