CBN News, TEL AVIV, Israel — Just days ago, some pundits were writing his political obituary. But Israeli voters gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a stunning victory Tuesday.
His Likud Party won nearly half the seats it needs for a majority in the next Knesset.
It’s a result that embarrassed the pollsters and sent shockwaves to capitals from Tehran to Washington.
Israeli voters delivered a clear message to the White House, the media, and the world: Thanks for your help, but we’ll keep our prime minister.
Why did the pollsters and media miss so badly on this election? CBN’s Chris Mitchell and John Waage address this question and more on The 700 Club, March 18.
What was supposed to be a tight race that favored the leftist Zionist Union turned overnight into a surprisingly strong victory for the nationalist right, led by Netanyahu.
In his victory speech, the prime minister quoted from the Book of Joel.
“And I want to thank you, all the citizens of Israel, for faith in Israeli democracy and for the faith in our one and only country. With your help and with the help of God we will protect her together, and ‘Judah will be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem for all generations.'” (Joel 3:20)
Faced with negative poll numbers and a hostile media, Netanyahu told a huge nationalist rally Sunday that his Likud Party could close the gap on the union of leftist parties. It appears he did that and surprised even his supporters.
Every pre-election indicator said Israelis would vote their pocketbooks and vote Labor. But in the end, security concerns prevailed.
“I see that the Israeli public understood that despite all the issues and all the problems, when we see the threat of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, the Likud is the best leading party to head the nation for the next four years,” Likud MK Danny Danon said.
Netanyahu will now bypass parties on the Left and try to form a government of the Right, but he will have to focus on the high cost of housing and other social issues as well. That contributed to the 24 seats won by Labor and the good showing of Kulanu, a Likud offshoot, that the prime minister will need for his majority.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s victory sets Israel and the Obama administration on a potential collision course over Iran.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper just removed Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, from its list of terror threats, while Netanyahu calls Iran the number one state sponsor of terror in the world.
Report via CBN News