Israel’s Netanyahu says his camp on brink of big election win


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JERUSALEM — Israel’s former premier Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that his right wing, religious camp was on the cusp of a great election win, after exit polls predicted his bloc gaining a slim parliamentary majority that would pave the way for his comeback.

“We have won a huge vote of confidence from the people of Israel,” a smiling Netanyahu told supporters at his election headquarters in Jerusalem. “We are on the brink of a very big victory,” he told the cheering crowd.

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Lifted by a strong showing from his far-right allies, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption he denies, was on course for a return to power, according to Israeli television exit polls late on Tuesday, which predicted his bloc of four parties taking 62 of the Knesset’s 120 seats.

A final result is not expected until later in the week.

Netanyahu’s record 12-year consecutive reign ended in June 2021 when centrist Yair Lapid managed to stitch together a fragile alliance of liberals, rightists and an Arab party for the first time and which unraveled a year into its rule.

But Lapid’s camp appeared to fall behind Netanyahu’s bloc, as actual results began trickling in, with exit polls predicting it would take 53-54 seats. Lapid stopped short at conceding and said he would wait until the final count was in. (Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Richard Pullin)


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