Headlines around the world announced Wednesday that Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be headed toward a historic fifth term as Israel’s prime minister — and each has their own unique take on the election race.
The outcome affirmed Israel’s continued tilt to the right and seemingly further dimmed hopes of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Reelection will also give Netanyahu an important boost as he braces for the likelihood of criminal charges over a series of corruption scandals.
With 97.4 percent of the vote counted, Likud and its traditional political allies were in command of a 65-55 majority in parliament. A couple of small parties were still teetering along the electoral threshold and fighting for their survival, so the final makeup of the next Knesset has yet to be decided. Final results are expected Thursday.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz become the first world leader to congratulate Netanyahu on Wednesday morning, tweeting: “Congratulations to Prime Minister @netanyahu for an excellent showing in yesterday’s national elections. While the official results have yet not been published, one matter is clear: you have — once again — gained the trust of the people of #Israel in record numbers.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted later in the morning, “My dear friend Bibi, Congratulations! You are a great friend of India, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to take our bilateral partnership to new heights. @netanyahu.” He also tweeted in Hebrew, but mistakenly cut off the last three words.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is urging Israel to abandon strong “rhetoric and populism” now the election is over. Cavusoglu’s comments were an apparent reference to Netanyahu’s recent pledge to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he were to win the election.
The minister told Turkey’s NTV news channel that Israel “must put aside the populism and the rhetoric, it must abandon its aggressive stance.”
Cavusoglu also called on the United States to act as an “honest broker” in the Mideast dispute, saying a U.S. peace plan for the region must be fair and objective toward Palestinians.
Newspapers around the world ran headlines covering Netanyahu’s assumed reelection. NBC News wrote, “Netanyahu claims ‘colossal victory’ as he appears set to keep power after tight Israeli election,” while other publications took a more subjective approach.
The left-leaning Huffington Post headline was “THE AGE OF BIBI ― ISRAEL VOTES EXTREME,” while right-wing Breitbart wrote “Netanyahu wins historic fifth term — New York Times Declares ‘Setback.’” Breitbart echoed Netanyahu’s victory speech in which he attacked the “biased media” and exit polls for suggesting his main rival, Benny Gantz from Kahol Lavon, had beaten Netanyahu’s Likud.