Netanyahu’s the winner, exit polls show; highest turnout in decades

The biggest winner was the Religious Zionism party led by Betzalel Smotrich, which won 14-15 seats according to exit polls.

By World Israel News Staff

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is on his way to election victory with a projected win of 61-62 seats, if exit polls for Israel’s fifth vote in three-and-a-half years are to be believed.

According to the polls, which often prove to be wrong in the following days, Netanyahu’s Likud party has secured the 61-seat majority needed to form a government.

The current government, led by Prime Minister Yair Lapid, has only secured between 54-55 seats.

The Arab Hadash-Ta’al party secured four seats according to all exit polls conducted by the broadcast networks. The exit poll results themselves change as the night goes on.

Likud won between 31-33 seats, according to Channel 11 and Channel 13 respectively.

Lapid’s Yesh Atid party won between 22-24.

The biggest winner was the Religious Zionism party led by Betzalel Smotrich, which won 14-15 seats according to exit polls.

The headquarters of Otzma Yehudit, Itamar Ben-Gvir’s party running on Religious Zionism’s slate, broke out in raucous celebrations as men danced and waved Israeli flags.

The anti-Zionist Arab nationalist Balad party, which aims to get rid of the Jewish character of the state and instead calls for a “state for all its citizens,” did not cross the electoral threshold according to the exit polls.

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However, if that changes tomorrow, that will also reshuffle the whole outcome and may affect the Netanyahu-held majority.

Voter turnout was the highest in more than two decades, with 66.3% percent of Israel’s 6,453,255 eligible voters casting their ballots by 8 p.m – two hours before the polling stations closed.

Arab cities had the lowest turnout, falling under 50% according to estimates.