UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Bibi has already contacted Naftali Bennett, the leader of Bayit Yehudi, to begin discussions of joining a Likud-led coalition. Netanyahu has already claimed there is no chance he puts together a “unity” government with ZU, as he sees the gulf between the two parties impossible to bridge. He won’t need to — the road to 61 “right-wing” seats appears clear:
Likud 28 or 27
HaBayit haYehudi 9 or 8
Yahadut haTorah 12 or 11
Kulanu 10 or 9
Yachad 6 or 5
Channel 2 in Israel is reporting the following for their exit polls. (Note: These are the channel’s own polls.) Last week, Zionist Union held a lead over Likud in the final pre-election poll.
And Channel 10 has the following numbers:
Arab list 13
And Channel 1:
Zionist Union 27
Joint Arab List 13
Yesh Atid 12
Bayit Yehudi 9
United Torah Judaism 6
Yisrael Beytenu 5
The Times of Israel reports on the Israeli reactions to the exit polls. Safe to say that the country supports their accuracy:
TV exit polls show Netanyahu set to retain premiership
Likud ahead or level with Zionist Union in all three exit polls, better placed to build coalition; Netanyahu’s efforts in final days drew him level with Herzog; delight in Likud, dismay in Zionist Union; Jewish Home slips
Zionist Union’s Shelly Yachimovich is trying to claim in a Channel 2 interview that there’s still room for a left-wing government, based on the Arab list and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu.
But the stark fact is Netanyahu’s natural coalition is much larger according to exit polls.
To seal the consciousness of a Netanyahu victory, Netanyahu has already called Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett in the last few minutes, and is slated to call Avigdor Liberman in the coming minutes.
The call to Moshe Kahlon could be among his last. Kahlon will take some convincing. His 10-seat showing makes him a decisive factor in the new coalition, and his demand was already clear in the campaign: to be finance minister.