Confounding pre-election and election night polls, Benjamin Netanyahu wins a plurality of parliamentary seats, gaining some 25% of the electorate’s vote. His successful effort to move right of center votes to his Likud Party enables him to receive President Rivlin’s affirmation to form the next Israeli government. Netanyahu, in placating his political base, promises not to negotiate a two-state solution at this time, and notes that many Arabs are voting. His remarks anger the White House. They likewise add fuel to smoldering Israeli-US embers that are still smoking from the aftermath of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. 28 MKs are women, one up from the 2013 election, and more than 33% are first time Knesset members. Netanyahu forms a government with center-right politicians, with the new centrist Kulanu Party holding a critical ten seats in the new coalition government.
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