Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may make a dramatic comeback as Prime Minister of the Middle Eastern country. According to general election exit polls, his party has a slim majority of seats over his main opposition, led by current Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
This outcome could bring Netanyahu back to power after he was deposed last year after 12 straight years in office.
According to media reports, the election was widely interpreted as a vote for or against Netanyahu’s re-election. From the result of the polls, his far-right bloc, which includes nationalist and Zionist parties, could control 61 or 62 seats in the 120-seat parliament.
Netanyahu’s party relies heavily on the support of the far-right Zionism party to secure victory. This party has grown in popularity due to its anti-Arab rhetoric and calls for the deportation of disloyal politicians and civilians.
Despite Netanyahu’s celebrations, Prime Minister Yair Lapid told his supporters in Tel Aviv that nothing has been decided and that his party will wait for the final results.
Benjamin Netanyahu is one of Israel’s most divisive politicians. Many in the centre and far left despise him, but grassroots supporters on the far right adore him.
He has been a staunch supporter of Israel’s settlement reconstruction in the West Bank, which it has occupied since 1967. International law considers the settlements there to be illegal, but Israel has defied this.
He also opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state along the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a solution to the long Israel-Palestinian conflict. However, members of the international community, including US President Joe Biden are in support of the creation of the Palestinian state.
Netanyahu is currently on trial for allegations of fraud and bribery, which he has categorically denied. The coalition he formed with other religious and nationalist parties has vowed to change the law and put an end to his trial.