Israel’s Netanyahu says his side is on the brink of a big election victory

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JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that his right-wing religious camp was poised for a big election victory, after exit polls predicted his bloc would win a narrow parliamentary majority that would pave the way for his return.

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

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Buoyed by a strong showing from his far-right allies, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption he denies, was on track for a return to power, according to Israeli TV exit polls Tuesday night, which predicted that his four-party bloc would take 62 of the Knesset’s 120 seats.

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

Netanyahu’s record-breaking 12-year reign ended in June 2021 when centrist Yair Lapid first managed to assemble a flimsy alliance of liberals, rightists and an Arab party that crumbled a year after his reign.

But Lapid’s camp appeared to be falling behind Netanyahu’s bloc as the real results began to trickle in, with exit polls predicting he would take 53-54 seats. Lapid stopped short to concede and said he would wait for the final count. (Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Richard Pullin)


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