Meanwhile, the mainstream media are at a loss for words. They had expected Netanyahu to lose, perhaps even by a wide enough margin to put Herzog in the pole position to form a new government. They had expected economic issues to trump security issues, which were Netanyahu’s focus. And they expected far stronger Arab turnout (as did Netanyahu).
The real loser is President Barack Obama, who undoubtedly hoped for a poor showing by Netanyahu. And the even bigger loser is the Iranian regime, who will now face an emboldened Israeli leader who made the case for his re-election on the grounds of strong public opposition to the generous terms of the nuclear deal that Obama is negotiating with Iran.
The most important immediate consequence of the election is that Netanyahu’s defense minister, Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, is likely to retain his post. A thorn in the side of Secretary of State John Kerry, whom he called “messianic,” Ya’alon is one of the few military planners in the western world with a grasp on the strategic realities of the Middle East. He has been a counsel of patience for Netanyahu, advising him not to waste resources on Hamas while Iran still looms as the enemy.
Yet the importance of his victory cannot be diminished. It is the biggest media surprise since “Dewey Defeats Truman”–a remarkable feat in today’s environment of big data, big media and big money.Netanyahu's Likud Party also leads in Knesset seats.
The returns on voting from ballot boxes indicate that the Likud has significantly extended its lead over Zionist Union.
According to Israel Radio, officials have counted the votes of 25 percent of booths across the country. The results indicate that the Likud wins 32 Knesset seats while Zionist Union garners 25 seats.
Yesh Atid is the third-largest party with 11 seats, Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu faction wins 10 seats, the Arab List nosedives to nine seats, the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Shas movement wins eight seats, Naftali Bennett's Bayit Yehudi dips further to seven seats, while Yisrael Beytenu, which has only mustered five seats, climbs to seven.What a rebuke to Obama, whose State Department is suspected of illegally using US dollars to try and defeat Netanyahu.
UP YOURS, OBAMA!!!!!!!! #IsraelElections pic.twitter.com/6q759uJIE0”
— Marooned in Marin (@MaroonedInMarin) March 17, 2015