The results of Israel’s election are too close to call, according to exit polls, but that hasn’t stopped both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger, Benny Gantz, from declaring victory. The three main television channels projected different outcomes: two declared Gantz victorious, and one announced a tie. Israel’s parliamentary system requires candidates to also form a coalition with a parliamentary majority, muddying election results. Netanyahu has looked to his base of right-wing Israelis for support, a coalition of pro-settlement and ultra-Orthodox groups. Gantz, a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and political newcomer, has successfully fashioned himself as a peacemaker. Netanyahu has taken an offensive tactic, vowing to annex parts of the West Bank which would set back prospects for a Palestinian state. The prime minister is currently being indicted on a slew of corruption charges including fraud, bribery, and breach of trust. If Netanyahu wins his fourth consecutive election, he will become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
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