UPDATE 10:30 PM ET: LIKUD OPENS UP A BIG LEAD . . . NETANYAHU DELIVERS VICOTRY SPEECH
From the Jerusalem Post:
The Israeli elections took a dramatic turn in the early morning hours on Wednesday as official tallies from nearly all precincts indicate that Likud has opened up a significant lead over Zionist Union, a far cry from the virtual dead heat that television exit polls had reported Tuesday evening.
With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting before dawn on Wednesday, the Likud holds a major edge over Zionist Union in the distribution of Knesset seats.
According to the official up-to-the-minute tally as of 04:20 local time, Likud wins 30 seats while Zionist Union comes in second at 24 seats.
This went from being a likely loss for Netanyahu to an affirmation of his policies. And a rejection by Israelis of Obama’s appeasement of Iran and ultimately, the acceptance of Iranian nuclear weapons.
Divine intervention? Wouldn’t be ruling it out.
This will make things more difficult for President Obama. Israel is gravely threatened by a nuclear Iran, which Obama’s deal would probably guarantee. With the Israelis solidly against what Obama is doing, it will strengthen the hand of those in this country who are pushing back against the emerging agreement.
At 5:47 ET in the United States, Israeli media are reporting exit polls showing Likud even or a little bit ahead of its chief rivals, making it likely that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to form a coalition to continue governing Israel.
Netanyahu has already declared victory, but his chief opponent, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, says Netanyahu has spoken too soon.
The result, if it stands, would be a grave disappointment to President Obama, whose former campaign aides are in Israel right now trying to arrange a victory for Netanyahu’s alliance of opponents. A Netanyahu loss would pull the rug out from under opponents of Obama’s emerging deal with Iran, suggesting that even Israel was opposed to a tougher approach to the ayatollahs.