Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks set for a fifth term in office Wednesday after almost complete election results put him and fellow right-wingers on track to form a governing coalition. But Netanyahu was in a stronger position to form a coalition government with the anticipated support of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, Likud's natural allies.
Netanyahu spoke later and declared himself the victor of a fifth term in office.
Blue and White Party Chairman Benny Gantz delivered a speech Wednesday evening, together with Yair Lapid, following the election results which indicate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to a fifth term.
He called Netanyahu´s annexation pledge an "irresponsible" bid for votes. The president was on a flight to Texas.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine asked Pompeo, a former Republican member of the House of Representatives, if he thought a peace agreement including one state for Israel and one state for the Palestinians was an outdated idea. "I'd like to congratulate him on a well-thought-out race".
Extending Israeli sovereignty on a large scale in the West Bank could be the death knell to already fading hopes for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
"The president can see the picture and should call on the victor to form the next government". The US president moved his country's embassy to the "undivided capital" Jerusalem and recognized the Golan Heights - annexed in 1981 - as Israeli territory, even though it clearly belongs to Syria under global law.
That decision will be up to President Reuven Rivlin, who in the next few days is expected to choose the party leader he believes has the best chance of assembling a parliamentary majority.
"The party might conceivably gain enough votes to enter the next Knesset, and potentially even become part of the governing coalition".
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Trump abandoned that policy previous year in the face of widespread public outrage, and it was subsequently struck down in court. Nielsen's name will be added to the long list of those who have shuttled in and out of cabinet posts in the last two years .
He faces possible indictment in three fraud cases, and has denied wrongdoing in all of them. The Labor party, which ruled the country for its first 30 years, tumbled to single digits in the parliament.
As more results came in Wednesday, Netanyahu told his supporters Likud had achieved a "tremendous victory".
As he walked onto the stage to chanting crowds, he planted a kiss on the lips of his wife Sara before dramatically wiping lipstick from his face.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz claimed victory after the initial exit surveys that gave Blue and White the most seats. 2020 presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke called Netanyahu a "racist" who has sided with a "far-right racist party" on Sunday. If his victory is confirmed, the man widely known as Bibi will surpass in July Israel's founding father David Ben Gurion as the country's longest-serving prime minister. That could be scuppered if criminal charges are filed and force his removal. Some analysts predict he may try to pass a law granting himself immunity, as a sitting leader, from trial.
The message was a sharp contrast from his campaign theme in which he accused Gantz of conspiring with Arab parties to topple him.
Israel's 21 per cent Arab minority saw its parties lose seats.
- Hadash, headed by Ayman Odeh, is a secular Arab-led party with communist roots that ran with Ahmed Tibi's Taal. Palestinians seek a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Besides Trump, other Netanyahu allies including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz offered congratulations.