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LIVE: Israeli Election Results 2019 (Update: Did Bibi Pull it off Again?)

LIVE: Israeli Election Results 2019 (Update: Did Bibi Pull it off Again?)

Exit polls indicate a tight race between PM Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Benny Gantz/Yair Lapid led Blue and White list.

This is a live post and will be updated periodically. You’ll find most recent updates up top with older news beneath.

Despite earlier exit polls showing a narrow victory for the Gantz/Lapid-led Blue and White list, later exit polls show a narrow victory for Likud, making it more likely that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be asked to form the next Israeli government. It would be his fourth consecutive electoral win and fifth overall. It would also make it likely that Netanyahu would emerge as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister later this year.

The Jerusalem Post reported:

Netanyahu claimed victory, because his Right-Center bloc won handily over Gantz’s Center-Left bloc in polls broadcast on Channel 13 and KAN, 66 to 54 and 64 to 56, respectively. In Channel 12’s poll, the blocs were even at 60 seats.

“The right-wing bloc led by Likud clearly won,” Netanyahu said. “I thank Israeli citizens for their trust. I will begin forming a right-wing government with our natural partners already tonight.”

However, challenger Benny Gantz, basing himself on earlier polls also declared victory:

“We won!” Gantz and his number two Yair Lapid said in a joint statement. “The Israeli public has had their say! Thank you to the thousands of activists and over a million voters. These elections have a clear winner and a clear loser. Netanyahu promised 40 seats and lost. The president can see the picture and should call on the winner to form the next government. There is no other option!”

Shas, United Torah Judaism, Kulanu, and the Union of Right-Wing Parties all announced that they would recommend Netanyahu for prime minister when the parties who will be represented in the next Knesset meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to determine who will form the next government. The Labor Party and Meretz will recommend Gantz.

7:00 PM EDT

A couple of Israeli channels are projecting seats based on sampling vote counts so far and both have found Likud now with a slight advantage over Blue and White.

Channels 12 and 13 are both projecting Likud to get 35 seats to Blue and White’s 34.

In addition, Moshe Kahlon, who leads the Kulanu party that broke off from Likud, has now said that he will support Netanyahu for Prime Minister. (After the votes are tallied, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin will summon all the parties to discuss the results of the vote and will ask each party which candidate it will support for prime minister. If any party leader gets more than 60 recommendations, Rivlin will choose him to get first crack at forming the new government.)

5:00 PM EDT

Counting of the ballots is taking place here.

i24 news anchor Eylon Levy is tracking the results in English. His most recent tally (4:44 PM EDT) is here.

3:00 PM EDT

Initial exit polls indicate a narrow Blue and White victory over Likud 37 – 36. Labour and Shas have 7 each. The New Right Party of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked surprisingly may not have made the threshhold of 4 seats.

Here are the three major exit polls.

The JNS analysts are pointing out that the exit polls may not take into account the last two hours of voting and that the army votes — which trends to the right — are not taken into account in the exit polling.

The consensus is that Netanyahu has the clearer path to the premiership. There also is some talk about a national unity government between Blue and White and Likud. That would result in a national unity government and (I think) possibly a rotating premiership.

Here’s the JNS live feed that discussed the election.

2:59 PM EDT

Is this a surprise, Gantz said that Blue and White is set to make history and Likud says that the rumors right now are “not good.”

2:55 PM EDT

With five minutes to go, here’s a tease.

2:00 PM EDT

With one hour to go before we will get the results of the exit polls. Stay tuned, we plan to have them as soon as they’re broadcast at 3 PM.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz went home and intends to go to the Blue and White election watching event later tonight.

It was a big day for Gantz, not just because it was his first political campaign, but because on his way back from voting, he was the first on the scene of a motorcycle accident.

Something you might not have expected to see.

I received a question in the comments on the status of the investigation against Netanyahu. The announcement at the end of February of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that he intended to indict the prime minister on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust has raised the question of Netanyahu’s ability to govern, even if he wins today’s election.

In short, the announcement is not an indictment. And the decision to indict Netanyahu could take a year. The next step in the process is a meeting between Netanyahu, his lawyers, and Mandelblit, where the prime minister’s team will make the case not to indict. It should take place in the next couple of months.

Although there was some speculation that the announcement would hurt Netanyahu and Likud, they still remain one of the biggest two parties competing today.

As far as the nature of the charges, this report by Raphael Ahrens outlines the charges in one of the cases. Law professor, Avi Bell, questioned Mandelblit’s decision to go forward.

12:30 PM EDT

Who votes in Israeli elections?

And even a bride on her wedding day.

The only thing that seems certain right now is that Arab turnout is lower than we’ve seen in some time, and now mosques in Arab towns are calling on residents to go out and vote. (Still about two and a half hours to go.)

The Likud is making its post-vote plans for the Kvutzat Shlomo hall in Tel Aviv. The party was postponed from 8 PM to 11 PM due to the supposed low voter turnout. Netanyahu is not expected to attend unless Likud wins.

Yair Lapid, number two on the Blue and White list, is telling people that the polling between his party and Likud is close, and that they should go out and vote.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that “our hands remain extended in peace.” How he intends to make good on that sentiment, since he’s also insisting that he will have nothing to do with the Trump peace plan remains unclear.

In response to a question in the comments, may I recommend yesterday’s post on the election?

If you want a quick sense of the major parties and their platforms, read the overview provided by Lori Lowenthal Marcus. Or check out the more comprehensive analysis by Haviv Rettig Gur at Mosaic Magazine.

10:30 AM EDT

The Times of Israel is reporting that a couple of pollsters found that voting in the Arab community is the lowest it’s been in decades. Exit polls cannot be reported until 10 PM in Israel (3 EDT), when the polls close.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to the beach in Netanya to tell swimmers to get out of the water and vote.

Later, he was reported to have returned to Jerusalem to hold an “emergency” meeting with party leaders. The Times of Israel, though, later noted that this may be more of an attempt to galvanize the base, as other parties are doing, than a sign of panic.

A couple of tweets showing how easy Israel makes it to vote.

And Linda Sarsour uses the Israeli election to spread vile and false anti-Israel propaganda.


9:00 AM EDT
How it went down four years ago.

How will it go down this year? If Israel’s former state archivist Yaacov Lozowick is reading body language correctly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is headed for defeat.

According to Israeli law, advertising and polling are banned a few days before the election, so the final polls of last week are it.

The final poll conducted by i24 NEWS shows the Blue and White coalition (headed by former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid) leading Netanyahu’s Likud by 32 to 27. But the smaller parties of the Right would potentially allow Netanyahu to form a coalition of 64. But that assumes that the polling is accurate: and we can’t know if it was correct last week for certain, and the dynamics could have changed in subsequent days.

After the votes are tallied Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, will ask the leader of the party deemed to have the best chance to form a government to attempt to put together a coalition. A number of parties are near the minimum cutoff — a party needs to attain four seats to make it to the Knesset — so if any fail to meet the cutoff, it could affect the makeup of the Knesset as well as which leader will be chosen to form the next government.

[Photo: TheDC Shorts / YouTube ]


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legacyrepublican | April 9, 2019 at 9:14 am

Praying for the best “bibi”sitter in the world to win.

      lc in reply to lc. | April 9, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      18min ago
      “3.4 million votes counted; Likud ahead of Blue and White

      Some 3.4 million votes are in, and holding 27% (931,000 ballots) Likud remains poised to be the largest party, according to official figures.

      Blue and White follows with 25.9%. Shas is next (6%), followed by United Torah Judaism (5.4%), Labor (4.4%), Yisrael Beytenu (4.3%), Hadash-Ta’al (4.2%), Union of Right-Wing Parties, Meretz and Kulanu (3.6%, respectively).”

        legacyrepublican in reply to lc. | April 10, 2019 at 2:18 am

        Was just checking in … TY for the update y’all!

        😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

        and Oh Vey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        (Now, on a serious note, can a Christian gentile like me join in the Jewish happy dance without it being considered cultural appropriation?)

          Jews are the world champion cultural appropriators, and we’re happy to pass our appropriations on. We pick up bits of culture in one place and take it with us when we move on to somewhere else.

          Take Jewish cuisine, for instance. There almost is no such thing, technically speaking. Pretty much every dish we’re known for anywhere was lifted from the people we lived among before. When we move we keep making it and our new neighbors lift it from us.

          Fish and chips, for instance. I don’t think the concept of fish breaded and fried in oil is originally ours; I think we copied it from the Spanish. But it was new to the English, so they associated it with us. Thomas Jefferson called it “fried fish in the Jewish fashion”. Then we paired it with fried potatoes, and the combination became so popular it came to be thought of as English and most people have forgotten who brought it there. Eat that, those who object to cultural appropriation. Or rather, don’t you dare.

          So dance away, especially since there aren’t any Jewish dances either. (The “horah” is Romanian.)

    Whoever has the harshest policy and plans vis-a-vis all of Israel’s Muslim neighbors, that man has my best wishes. I know a lot goes into any decision on how to respond to the constant Muslim hectoring and actual terror attacks, but really, isn’t enough is enough?

    No matter what Israel does – if it shows restraint that only encourages the Muslims to keep up the attacks; if it acts forcefully it’s accused of a disproportionate response – Israel gets the short end of the stick.


    Do what’s best for the Israel people and KNOCK THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THE MUSLIMS ESPECIALLY HAMAS.

Please Bibi dear God of Israel

David Gerstman | April 9, 2019 at 10:45 am

Legal Insurrection readers, this is David Gerstman. If you have any questions about the election; feel free to post them in comments. I will try to review the comments section and provide answers over the course of the day.

    healthguyfsu in reply to David Gerstman. | April 9, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Can you lay out the platforms of each prime minister candidate, especially as it relates to alliance with the U.S. and with the stance on counter-terrorism from extremist Palestinians, Iran, et al.?

    Any other pertinent points of policy that hinge on this election?

    Side note: While logging in to leave this comment, I accidentally gave Linda Sarsour a click to her twitter rant. You should really screenshot and unlink that garbage.

    Thanks Mr. Gerstman.

    I hope the election goes well and increases Israeli security and prosperity.

    Mr. Gerstman, Might the low voter turnout in the Arab community (“…the lowest it’s been in decades…”) be an indication of intimidation based upon fear that those who might vote for PM Netanyahu would suffer for it? For them, life in Israel would seem to be far better than in any of the surrounding countries, something the Arab street would not want to get around.

Remember that Israelis do not vote for Prime Minister but for a Party. It takes a minimum of 61 Members of Knesset to form a coalition, so unless someone can get at least 61 mandates they do not win. No the fun begins. What does each MK want?

Notice the new, utterly contemptible Dhimmi-crat trend of slandering prominent Jewish politicians — both in the U.S., and, in Israel — with fallacious and vile slurs, rhetoric made all the more odious and despicable, given the historical persecution of Jews.

Empty-suit and fake Hispanic, Robert O’Rourke, calls PM Netanyahu an alleged “racist;” Nancy Pelosi, and, now, Jew-hating bigot Ilhan Omar, label Stephen Miller an alleged “white supremacist.”

This rhetoric is patently offensive on a million different levels. It should be obvious to anyone with half a brain and a minor understanding of history why calling a Jew a “white supremacist” is offensive and callous as hell.

This kind of behavior needs immediate push-back and condemnation from all citizens possessing a modicum of moral probity.

Hello, Mr. David Gerstman — could you please provide a brief summation of the current status of the criminal investigations against PM Netanyahu? Are the accusations rooted in a substantive foundation, or, are they politically-motivated, in nature? How does the “average” Israeli on the street view the accusations?

    David Gerstman in reply to guyjones. | April 9, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    guyjones, please check above. I’ve addressed your question. It’s a good one. I don’t have great knowledge of the issues involved, but I linked to people who do.

What’s with this voting thing? They don’t have enough guns for a typical Mid East election?

Israel.. the only democracy.

I have heard the recent exit poles were not good for Nini

Hard to imagine a people that is so self loathing that their very existence is in grave danger

America has no greater allie then Israel and Israel no greater Allie than America… as long as Trump is in charge or someone very much like him.

Obama and the Democrats want the destruction of Israel, and ANY American Jew or Israel supporters who vote Democrat, are voting for Israel’s destruction

Any Israelite who doesn’t understand that Trumps relationship with Bibi is paramount to their existence is a fool and a traitor to Israel.

I noticed that goggle returns lies when queried about Muhammad’s statement that Muslims duty was to spread Islam by the sword of conquest. That Jews and Christans must submit to Muslims or be exterminated, others had the choice of conversation to Islam or death. CAIR must be manipulating searches in order to conceal the true evil of Islam.

It’s a pity Caroline Glick will definitely not be in the Knesset, and even the wonderful Ayelet Shaked is in serious danger. Bennett I can do without. But the real disappointment is Zehut’s collapse. Even if they do scrape in, it won’t be the performance they expected and so carefully planned for. And that’s a disaster, because Moshe Feiglin was really the Knesset’s only honest true believer in liberty and in Israel’s right to be where it is.

In good news, however, AirBNB has caved in to the lawsuit brought by Shurat Hadin and Bob Tolchin, and has cancelled its racist boycott of Jews living in Judaea.

More bad news for the economy. The socialist Kahlon got in, and will presumably demand the Treasury again. We can forget about the libertarian reforms Zehut proposed there.

And I can’t believe Yvette Liberman is back and stronger than ever. He’ll be demanding Defense back.

    alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Does the Left have a Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to dealing with the enemies of Israel?

      Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | April 10, 2019 at 2:46 am

      More of an Oslo Syndrome, but yes. They admire the Scandiavians and live in the hope of that admiration becoming mutual. And they’re convinced that there is some set of concessions that can be made the enemy that will make him love them.

      Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | April 10, 2019 at 2:47 am

      More of an Oslo Syndrome, but yes. They admire the Scandiavians and live in the hope of that admiration becoming mutual. And they’re convinced that there is some set of concessions that can be made the enemy that will make him love them.

      Kahlon, however, is not leftist on defense, just on everything else. He’s a true believer in the welfare state.

I put my prayer in for Netanyhu last night.
I hope it wasn’t too late.
What a fine friend he is.

But… I realize… it is not for me to decide the way forward.

Colonel Travis | April 9, 2019 at 8:11 pm

Netanyahu declared victory?

    Bibi and Beny both have.
    We won’t know for a bit…

    Milhouse in reply to Colonel Travis. | April 9, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Based on the early exit polls they both declared victory on different grounds: Gantz because his circus tent got 4-5 more seats than Likud did, so he figured he was somehow “entitled” to first crack at putting together a coalition, and Netanyahu because despite having 4-5 fewer seats for his list he had pledges of support from parties forming a clear majority of the Knesset. That is really all that counts, so Gantz was off base. The latest results erase that gap anyway, so even by Gantz’s own incorrect standard he loses.

I always bet on the MIT guy.



Hip hip hooray!!!

Is ballot harvesting in Israel legal?

    Milhouse in reply to gwsjr425. | April 10, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    There’s no such thing, because there is no absentee voting. At all. If you’re in hospital they bring a ballot box to your bedside so you can vote. There are ballot boxes in prisons and army bases. Those are the ones being counted now, which might shift the result a little.