Netanyahu's party sent monitors equipped with body cameras to a number of polling stations with Arab constituents on election day. The Israeli government needs a parliamentary majority to rule, and since no party has ever earned more than half of the 120 seats in the Knesset, a coalition is required.
"The right-wing bloc led by Likud won a clear victory".
Netanyahu's Likud party and Gantz's Blue and White alliance each appear to have secured 35 seats. "For us as Palestinians, Jerusalem is gone, the West Bank is full of settlements", he said, adding election candidates had been "bragging about who could do more harm to Palestinians in order to win the election".
The nominee, who does not necessarily have to be the head of the largest party, has up to 42 days to form a government.
Netanyahu called his projected victory an "immense feat, nearly inconceivable", saying he and Likud have been "faced with biased media", including a flood of reports in recent weeks about his potential indictment on three separate criminal investigations involving bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
WASHINGTON- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined on Wednesday to publicly say the Trump administration still backs a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
- United Torah Judaism represents ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews, and like Shas has announced its support for Netanyahu. However, the right-religious bloc that has supported Netanyahu in previous governments controls 65 seats, while the center-left that would support Gantz has only 55.
The last round of USA -brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014.
- Hadash, headed by Ayman Odeh, is a secular Arab-led party with communist roots that ran with Ahmed Tibi's Taal.
Mitchell Barak, an Israeli political pollster and analyst told Al Jazeera it's a remarkable achievement for a party to obtain 35 seats, referring to both frontrunners. No one from a party that is not ours should worry.
- Blue and White was formed ahead of the elections by Benny Gantz, a former armed forces chief of staff who is a newcomer to politics. "They asked for a different path, and we showed them the way". "They don't want a power sharing arrangement", Barak said.
The race between Gantz's and Netanyahu's coalitions attracted worldwide attention.
He thanked his voters and said that as soon as tonight, he "will begin working on forming a right-wing government with natural potential partners".
On Wednesday, Gantz wrote this message to his supporters, according to The Associated Press: "Though the skies appear gloomy, nothing is final". Some 40 parties took part in the election, and only those that receive at least 3.25% of the votes make it into parliament.
The former journalist plays a key role in the alliance's PR messaging.
It should also be noted that an official, limited sovereignty would not make a very big difference in the everyday life of Israeli settlers.
"By merging into a single list with Lapid, he acted in the opposite way".
It is a move long-sought by Israel's far-right.
Just days before the election, on a visit to Moscow, Netanyahu was able to personally thank Vladimir Putin for Russia's key role in locating the body of an Israeli soldier who had been missing in Lebanon for almost 37 years.
Israel's attorney general has recommended indicting Netanyahu on bribery and breach of trust charges in three separate cases, and Netanyahu's legal situation will hover over his next term in office.