[Ed. – The exit polls had the Right bloc showing just a little better than the initial vote count. (Exit polls: 60 seats for Right bloc; vote count currently projects 59 seats.) The final returns won’t all be tallied until Thursday. Another nail-biter, but for Likud and the Right, a significant improvement over the last round. A bigger chunk of seats should improve the odds of Netanyahu forming a government.]
Benjamin Netanyahu has succeeded in reversing the trend that began last April with the rise of Benny Gantz’s Blue&White and led the rightwing bloc to 60 mandates in the 23rd Knesset – 1 seat short of a majority, but already enough to give the PM an unobstructed path to victory.
The Likud is now the largest party, with a significant gap over Blue&White. Labor-Gesher-Meretz party crashed down to six or seven seats, from the 11 seats the three parties had in the previous Knesset. Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu dropped to 6 or 7 seats.
Netanyahu has called for a meeting of the rightwing bloc parties in his office Tuesday morning.