Tags: Israel | Middle East | benjamin netanyahu | benny gantz | knesset | prime minister

Israel So Far Uncertain Whether It Will Be Gantz or Netanyahu

benjamin netanyahu gestures while speaking to the masses in israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Amir Cohen/AP)

By Tuesday, 09 April 2019 06:26 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Both sides were claiming victory in Israel on Tuesday — and no one has a clue to who will be the next prime minister after one of the hardest-fought campaigns in Israel's 71-year history.

An early exit poll showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud (conservative) Party drawing 33-to-36 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (parliament) and 37 seats for the Blue-and-White Alliance of moderates led by former Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

Despite early reports of a victory for the opposition composed of a joint coalition of parties led by Gantz and former Finance Minister Yair Lapid (who has an agreement with Gantz to let him become prime minister after two years), no one is quite sure who will be in charge when the dust settles.

"I'm not sure Gantz will be prime minister," Hudson Institute President Ken Weinstein told Newsmax, noting the final election results will be followed by Israeli President Reuven Revlin requesting the top vote-getter to try to form a coalition.

"I'm not calling anyone 'prime minister' until I see who the smaller parties are," said Marshall Breger, former Reagan Administration official, who is personally acquainted with Netanyahu and most current Israeli political powers.

In its 70-plus years of elections, Israel has never had a single party win a majority in the Knesset. Thus, all governments are formed through coalitions of one major party with several smaller ones.

At this point, it was unclear which of the smaller parties would achieve the 3.25 percent of the vote required for entrance into the Knesset (and an automatic three seats).

The ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism Party, which apparently did pass the threshold, has already recommended the president ask Netanyahu to form the government. United Torah has also said it will recommend immunity for prosecution of Netanyahu for the pending charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

On the other hand, the hard-right New Right Party — which champions settlers in Israeli-run Arab territory — apparently fell short of the threshold. New Right is headed by two longtime Netanyahu allies, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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No one has a clue to who will be Israel's next prime minister, after one of the hardest-fought campaigns in Israel's 71-year history and both sides claiming victory Tuesday, Newsmax's John Gizzi reports.
benjamin netanyahu, benny gantz, knesset, prime minister
Tuesday, 09 April 2019 06:26 PM
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