Creating new perspectives since 2009

Embattled Netanyahu on course for a historic fifth term as Prime Minister

Election day is here. After months of campaigning, today Israel’s political parties can only watch anxiously as the country heads to the polls.

April 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Israeli Likud Party campaign material and posters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following election night on 10 April 2019 in Tel Aviv [Jack GUEZ/AFP/Getty]

The past four months have been nothing if not dramatic, with accusations of corruption, armies of social media bots and phone hacking. Yet despite the theatrics, mud-slinging and cries of foul play, the polls suggest this could be one of the closest-fought elections Israel has seen.

Though onlookers predicted an easy win for incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the almost interminable rise of ex-army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has threatened to throw his re-election bid off course.

The initial polls released on Friday suggested that Gantz would win the election, but as more votes have been counted Netanyahu appears to have moved ahead. Moreover, when it comes to who could most effectively build a ruling coalition, Netanyahu once again came out on top, meaning he could yet secure his fourth-consecutive Knesset term.

Will King Netanyahu retain his throne? Stay tuned to the MEMO live blog for all the latest updates and the initial exit poll at 22:00 local time [19:00 GMT, 20:00 BST].

Loading live blog…