Benjamin Netanyahu, the incumbent Israeli Prime Minister has reportedly won the crucial General Elections for record fifth time. Netanyahu took to Twitter and wrote thank you in Hebrew. The â€˜thank youâ€™ post also included a photo of him and his wife Sara. According to the Jerusalem Post, at the victory party, Netanyahu thanked the public â€œfor putting their trust in me...and even greater trust than before.â€ "The right-wing bloc led by me will continue to lead Israel for the next 4 years and bring Israel to greater heights," Netanyahu added. Netanyahu said his government will be good for â€œJews and non-Jews, all citizens of Israel...I am taking care of the country that belongs to all of us. I am sure that if we work together we can meet all our challenges.â€
×ª×•×“×” â™¥ï¸ pic.twitter.com/nucHw9ng0Râ€” Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) April 10, 2019
Israelis on Tuesday voted in the country's most closely fought election in years. Over 10,000 polling stations opened around the country from 7:00 a.m. (local time) Tuesday to allow more than 6.33 million eligible voters to cast their ballots. The results will start coming in at 22:00 (local time) Tuesday. Netanyahu, who is facing serious corruption allegations had a stiff challenge from former army chief Benny Gantz in the polls that have been seen as heavily divisive. Gantz, who voted in his hometown of Rosh Haayin, called for a "new path."
"I'm happy to stand for the good of the citizens on a new path," the 59-year-old retired general said after casting his ballot. "We shall respect democracy and call for a respectful and quiet day from all sides." The polling witnessed low voter turn out till afternoon. About 35.8 per cent Israelis cast their votes by 2 PM (local time), a slight decrease in turnout compared to 2015 polls. Also there were reports of a sharp decline in the number of Arab voters.
The prime minister convened an "emergency meeting" of campaign staffers to decide steps to increase turnout at his Jerusalem residence. In a video, Netanyahu was seen talking to his poll strategist and the expert is seen warning him, "Prime Minister as of now we are losing the election".
He attributed the loss to overconfidence among Likud supporters who have stayed at home having concluded a certain election victory.
All the recent poll surveys had shown Gantz's Blue and White party in a close race with Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, or even performing slightly better to emerge as the single largest party. Trump has taken measures that have been seen by some as direct intervention in Israeli polls to help his friend Netanyahu, who is seeking a fifth term that would make him Israel's longest-serving leader, surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion. He has been premier for a total of more than 13 years.
(With agency inputs)