Netanyahu’s Likud Party Wins Israeli Election
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party surged to victory in Israel’s parliamentary elections on Tuesday. Voter turnout reached 72 percent of eligible voters, the highest in Israel since 1999. Final poll results show Likud taking 30 seats in the Knesset, outpacing its nearest rival, the center-left Zionist Union coalition party, which received 24 ...
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party surged to victory in Israel’s parliamentary elections on Tuesday. Voter turnout reached 72 percent of eligible voters, the highest in Israel since 1999. Final poll results show Likud taking 30 seats in the Knesset, outpacing its nearest rival, the center-left Zionist Union coalition party, which received 24 seats. Netanyahu’s success came as a surprise to some after opinion polls late in the campaign showed him locked in a dead heat with Isaac Herzog, his Zionist Union counterpart.
Netanyahu now faces the difficult task of building a coalition with the 61 seats necessary to form a government. Likud’s present coalition of parties won 57 seats yesterday, but analysts say Netanyahu will have problems reaching a majority. Netanyahu’s first phone call after the results was to Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home Party, to say he would work towards establishing a conservative government.
Palestinian officials responded to the election results by saying that they would accelerate their plans to join the International Criminal Court. “Israel chose the path of racism, occupation and settlement building, and did not choose the path of negotiations and partnership between us,” senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo told AFP.
U.S. Drone Believed to Have Crashed in Syria
The U.S. military lost contact with a MQ-1 Predator drone on Tuesday afternoon, a defense official told press yesterday. The Syrian government claims it shot down the drone near Latakia, an Alawite stronghold along Syria’s Mediterranean coast. An American defense official told press that the drone was unarmed and operating in northwest Syria, but that “at this time, we have no information to corroborate press reports that the aircraft was shot down.”
- Syrian activists accused the Assad regime of killing six people and injuring dozens of civilians with a chlorine attack in Idlib Province; if true, this would be the first chemical attack by the government since the U.N. Security Council passed a new resolution on their use earlier this month.
- Following the withdrawal of many diplomats and military support staff, the U.S. military now cannot account for $500 million of military aid in Yemen, including helicopters, Humvees, and small arms.
- Kurdish intelligence chief Masrour Barzani accused the Baghdad government of withholding critical funding from Kurdistan over an oil dispute while continuing to provide financial support to Islamic State-occupied provinces.
- Israel has concluded a historic energy export agreement with Egypt; under the terms of the deal, the first in which Israel will sell natural gas to Egypt, Egypt will receive 5 billion cubic feet of gas over three years.
- Iranians are celebrating Chaharshanbe Suri today, despite Iranian police saying that they will enforce a ban on observing the holiday; the controversy is a continuation of a decades-long debate over the tradition, which has its roots in Iran’s pre-Islamic Zoroastrian heritage.
-J. Dana Stuster
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images