B&W outperformed all expectations, with its promise to clean up Israeli politics, impose a three-term prime ministerial limit, amend the contentious Nation-State Bill, allow civil marriage, expand egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, invest in education and health, and bring women and Orthodox Jews into the workplace. Final results were expected Thursday.
By Wednesday morning, with 97 percent of the votes counted, Likud and Blue and White had won 35 seats each.
The final results will depend on the performance of several small parties, including the Arab Balad party and the ultranationalist "New Right, " that were on the cusp of entering parliament.
The Blue and White party, headed by former army chief of staff Benny Gantz, drew even with Netanyahu's Likud party, but the incumbent prime minister is poised to form a government with his larger bloc of religious and nationalist allies. One indicated a Blue and White victory, while two others showed a tie and an advantage for the right-wing bloc, which appears to have been accurate.
"We didn't win in this round". That continued tilt to the right in Israeli politics would have an impact not only on domestic policies, but the wider world and, of course, on Middle East peace.
- Netanyahu facilitated an alliance of Jewish Home, National Union and the controversial Jewish Power movement composed of followers of the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane in a bid to ensure that right-wing votes - even far-right ones - did not go to waste in the arithmetic of coalition-building.
His close ally President Donald Trump, who has swung USA policy sharply in Israel's favour and openly backed Netanyahu, said the prime minister's victory gives the White House's long-awaited peace plan a "better chance".
Taking a lead from Trump, Netanyahu in his speech said he'd triumphed despite the best efforts of an antagonistic media, while "Make America Great Again" flags were waved by members of the audience.
Trump again attacks 'Angry Democrats' over Mueller probe
Nadler indicated if necessary, lawmakers could go to court to ensure they'll see even grand jury data in the Mueller report. Democrats suspect the evidence could be damning to the president -setting up a legal and political showdown.
Pending an upcoming hearing, the Israeli attorney general says he plans to indict Netanyahu on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges.
Unlike the Israelis they hardly have any say over their own future, and when it comes to many Arab states, they can not really count on any real support. However, the country now faces what could be weeks of political negotiations over the composition of a ruling coalition. However, every child in the West Bank and Gaza knows that the Palestinian leadership wished for Benjamin Netanyahu's downfall.
The election is neck-and-neck between his right-wing party and that of his top contender, centrist political newcomer Benny Gantz. But most of its support seems to have come at the expense of the venerable Labor and leftist Meretz parties, which both earned historic lows in the election.
Netanyahu's all-but-certain victory comes as he is facing multiple corruption probes and after an election campaign which analysts told RT was focused less on policy issues and more on personality, with many Israelis feeling his 10-year tenure as PM was long enough and that it was time for change and a new face.
Despite that, Mr Netanyahu gained four seats compared to his outgoing coalition government, according to a spreadsheet published by the Central Elections Committee.
Reuven Rivlin added that, for the first time, his meetings with party leaders would be broadcast on live television "in the name of transparency".
The victory, despite corruption allegations against Mr Netanyahu, 69, puts him on a path to win his fifth term in office and become Israel's longest-serving prime minister later this year. He said that while his potential coalition would be a right-wing government, he pledged he would be "prime minister for all". Arab leaders accused Netanyahu of demonizing the country's Arab community, which is about 20 percent of the population.
In response, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it would look to the global community for help blocking an annexation.