After Netanyahu Fails to Form Government, Israel to Hold New Election
Prime minister failed to mediate between Lieberman and ultra-Orthodox parties, sending Israel to its second election in six months
Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be headed toward a historic fifth term as Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday, with close-to-complete unofficial election results giving his right-wing Likud and other nationalist and religious parties a solid majority in parliament.
The outcome affirmed Israel’s continued tilt to the right and further dimmed hopes of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Re-election will also give Netanyahu an important boost as he braces for the likelihood of criminal charges in a series of corruption scandals.
With 97.4% of the vote counted, Likud and its traditional political allies were in command of a 65-55 majority in parliament. A couple of small parties were still teetering along the electoral threshold and fighting for their survival, so the final makeup of the next parliament has yet to be decided. Final results were expected Thursday.
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In a change of fortune, a Jewish teenager from Ethiopia participating in the International Bible Quiz in Israel will be granted residency enabling him to stay in the country, a week after he was reportedly asked to deposit thousands of shekels as a guarantee that he will leave Israel when the contest is over.
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