Benjamin Netanyahu reacts as he shakes hands with someone after addressing supporters on Wednesday. Thomas Coex/AFP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a clear path to reelection on Wednesday, with religious-rightist parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority despite a close contest against his main centrist challenger, a vote tally showed.
With more than 97 per cent of votes counted, Netanyahu's conservative Likud party looked likely to muster enough support to control 65 of the Knesset's 120 seats and be named to head the next coalition government — a record fifth term as premier.
The close and often vitriolic contest was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Netanyahu's character and record in the face of corruption allegations. He faces possible indictment in three graft cases, and has denied wrongdoing in all of them.
Despite that, Netanyahu gained four seats compared to his outgoing coalition government, according to a spreadsheet published by the Central Elections Committee of parties that won enough votes to enter the next parliament.
His challenger, the new Blue and White party of ex-general Benny Gantz, claimed a more modest victory after winning a 35-seat tie with Likud. Unless he reverses on campaign pledges to shun Netanyahu, and joins him in a future broad coalition, Gantz looked destined to lead a centre-left parliamentary opposition.
Netanyahu highlighted his close relationship with US President Donald Trump, who delighted Israelis and angered Palestinians by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 and moving the US Embassy to the holy city last May.
Two weeks before the election, Trump signed a proclamation, with Netanyahu at his side at the White House, recognising Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
The Israeli military said troops opened fire after Palestinians threw rocks and explosives at them during an operation southeast of the city of Ramallah.
A Palestinian was shot dead by Israelis on Wednesday, the Israeli military and a witness said.
The good news from the US is that for the first time, perhaps ever, 50 per cent of that country’s citizens support the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. A poll taken between February 1-10 by the reliable Gallup organisation reveals this dramatic shift in the position of the public in the country which has, for seven decades, been Israel’s faithful friend and, often as now, subservient servant as is the case under the Trump administration.
A building’s watchman habitually raped a mentally challenged teen whenever her mother went her way. He will spend 25 years behind bars, a jury ruled on Sunday.
UAE-based Indian expatriates as well as members of the international community looking for world-class education in a secure environment at affordable prices have got reason to rejoice as India’s first knowledge city developed in the south Indian state of Kerala is opening its doors soon.
An inebriated tourist who smacked a police officer with a liquor bottle and headbutted another told judges on Sunday he was too drunk to understand his actions.
More than 400 students and staff from 27 schools around the United Arab Emirates, along with representatives from industry and government along with students and faculty members from the American University of Sharjah (AUS), attended the popular annual Environmental Day 2019 held at AUS on April 18. Organised by the university’s Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with the AUS Office of Enrolment Management, this year’s event theme was “The Energy of Science.”