White and white chief Benny Gantz, recently defeated by the center-left elections, addressed supporters on Wednesday morning and acknowledged that the "skies seem grim", but they swore to continue representing "more than a million citizens who turned to us for something different. "
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud was ready to get a clear electoral victory on Wednesday morning, with 97% of the votes that his Likud party tied with Blue and White, but the right-wing block with clear advantage and Netanyahu with clear way to form a governing coalition.
With more than four million votes counted from 9 hours, Likud hooked up 26.27% of the votes, or 35 seats in the 120-seat legislature, the best result of the game since the 2003 elections (when he won 38 seats with Ariel Sharon) and the best of Netanyahu. Blue and White won 25.94% of the votes, which would also give 35 seats.
In real numbers, only 14,000 votes separated the two most important parties.
"Friends, good day. Yes, good morning! "Gantz said in a statement to the supporters when the results became clear, hours after making a speech of premature victory.
"It's true, the skies seem bleak, but there are two things that do not say: one, [the results] They are not final, since there could still be electoral changes, and it is possible that we can bring political processes one way or another, "he said without elaborating.
"Two, surely can not hide the sunlight of hope that we bring to the people of Israel and to Israeli society. The voters looked for hope and we will give them. They asked for a different path and we showed them the way. "
He encouraged white and white supporters not to "fear", using a quote in the Hebrew script that seemed to be a mashup of two verses: "So friends, in the fall of your enemy, do not be afraid and in your victory do not let them your heart is weak. "
And he promised: "Therefore, we will not withdraw from our public duty to represent more than one million citizens who have turned to us for something different. We have achieved a historical achievement. We can be proud of ourselves and we will be."
Hours before, before the official results were, Gantz declared the victory, saying to the supporters that "a great light shines on Israel tonight," he added: "This is a historic day. More than a million people have chosen hope."
With the exception of Likud and Blue and White, no other part seemed to break the double digits in the number of seats. But with five ultra-right and ultra-Orthodox parties that have secured 30 seats together, it seems that Netanyahu may form a government similar to its current coalition on the right, with solid 65 seats.
On the other side of the fence, four left and Arab parties were combined for only 20 seats, apparently putting them in opposition to Blue and White, pending coalition.
When arriving at a surprising third and fourth place were the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, with 6.10% (8 seats) and 5.90% (8 seats) respectively.
The fifth was the predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta? With 4.61%, or six seats.
The historically dominant Labor party crashed to sixth place with 4.46% (six seats), the worst part of its 71-year history.
With five seats each of them were Yisrael Beytenu (with 4.15%) and the Union of right parties (3.66%).
Meanwhile, Meretz (3.64%), Kulanu (3.56%) and Arab Ra'am-Balad (3.45%) had four seats each.
In a surprising development, the New Right party, led by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, seemed not to exceed the 3.25% election threshold, resulting in only 3.14% of the votes.
Another surprise was the Zehut of Moshe Feiglin, who has risen in polls in recent weeks, polluting seven positions. In the end, the legalization party in favor of extreme right marijuana only attracted the support of 2.53% of the voters, placing it abroad looking.
He did not get the Gesher de Orly Levy-Abekasis addition, with 1.75%.
The results were not final, with tens of thousands of ballots yet to be counted.