Exit Polls: Netanyahu Re-Elected, Lapid Surprises With 19, Shas 11, UTJ 6


netanyahuExit polls marking the conclusion of the 2013 national elections are predicting re-election for Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, but the big surprise was Yair Lapid’s Yeish Atid party, which, according to the polls, won 18-19 mandates.

Israel’s news networks projected the joint Likud-Yisrael Beteinu to have won 31 Knesset seats – a sharp drop from the 42 mandates that two parties currently hold.

The winner of the day was Yesh Atid, whose projected number of mandates was almost double what the final pre-election polls predicted.

Shelly Yachimovich, who in recent weeks voiced hopes of becoming Israel’s next prime minister, failed to have garnered enough mandates to become the country’s second largest party, garnering 17 Knesset seats, the polls indicated.

Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi was said to have won 12 Knesset seats.

The results were expected to make it tough for Netanyahu to form a coalition, considering that the race between the Right and Left blocs was tighter that initially expected. The polls showed the the rightist bloc won a combined 61 Knesset seats, while the leftist bloc won 59 mandates.

Shas is thought  to have won 11-13 seats, followed by Hatnua with six or seven. Kadima, the news network said, has failed to pass the minimum threshold and was out of the next Knesset.

Meretz appeared to have doubled its power by winning seven mandates, according to channels 1 and 2. Channel 10 saw the party receiving only six Knesset seats. This is the biggest win for the party, which is headed by Zahava Gal-On, since 1999.

Final results were not expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday. Polling stations closed at 10 pm.

The preliminary results were as follows:

Likud -Yisrael Beiteinu: 31
Yesh Atid: 18-19
Labor: 17
Habayit Hayehudi: 12
Shas: 11-13
Hatnua: 6-7
Meretz: 6-7
United Torah Judaism: 6
Hadash: 3-5
United Arab List-Taal: 3-4
Balad: 2
Otzma Leyisrael: 0-2
Kadima: 0

Lapid responded to the initial findings with a single phrase posted on his Facebook page: “Thank you.” The number two on Yesh Atid’s ticket, Rabbi Shay Piron, told Ynet’s live broadcast that the elections were a “historic event,” noting that the party was expected  to get only five or six mandates.

The Likud-Beiteinu attempted to downplay the fact his ruling party had significantly weakened. Netanyahu thanked his constituents in a Facebook post, emphasizing his re-election.

“According to the polls, the citizens of Israel asserted that they want me to keep serving as prime minister and to form the broadest coalition possible,” he said. “These results pose an opportunity to make many changes that would benefit the Israeli public… Many challenges are ahead.”

Netanyahu pledged to launch efforts to form a government as soon as tonight.

Officials with Habayit Hayehudi expressed contentment with the rightist party’s gains, which mirrored predictions made ahead of the elections.

“We promised that something new was starting, and today something new has started by the people of Israel,” Bennett, the party’s chairman, told dozens of supporters waiting outside his Raanana home. “We, Habayit Hayehudi, have returned to the center of the political stage.”

Members of Shas were equally pleased that they managed to preserve, and most likely to boost, the party’s power.

“The people has decided to empower Shas,” Avraham Kreuzer, a manager of the party’s campaign, told Ynet.

Sources close to Chacham Ovadia Yosef, said that he “heard the results and rejoiced before resuming his (Torah) studies.”

Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni said thanked activists and told them that she “is back for good.”

“I will stay in order to complete the mission we have taken upon ourselves – to make Israel a country that is part of the free world and isn’t closed off and isolated, a country that leads the process towards peace,” she said, noting that her party deserved more Knesset seats.

The number two on the party’s list, Amir Peretz, said the Center-Right bloc can pose an alternative to Netanyahu.

The final voter turnout on Election Day stood at 66.6%, the highest than 1999.

Polling stations across Israel opened at 7 am on Tuesday, beckoning a total of 5,656,705 eligible voters to cast ballots in 10,132 ballot boxes across the country.

While the winner appeared to be pretty much decided, international media outlets on Tuesday pondered the implications of another Netanyahu administration for the diplomatic process.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau, with reporting by Ynet and F. Davidi}


  1. Comment to Anonymous#3
    Theoretically, if the Chareidim were to win a collective majority what would be there platform-disband the army, Universities, Scientific Research etc?
    Yeshivaleit without a secular education including graduate school are not becoming Doctors, Engineers, Economists, etc. all the necessary ingredients for a functioning society.
    And as for the army, who would enlist? Who would become Commandos and Special Forces? Do you really think someone without intensive training in areas including but not limited to one’s physique, strength, psychology,and technical abilities? Do you think this can be accomplished Bein Hasedorim post 25 etc?


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