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Reelected But Weakened, Israel's Netanyahu Must Seek Broad Coalition



JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu"s narrow victory for a third term as Israel's prime minister will force him to reach out to the surprise centrist challenger as he now faces the complex task of forming a new coalition.

Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu right-wing alliance lost a quarter of its Parliamentary seats in the Knesset, a humbling rebuke for Netanyahu who himself called the early elections as an overwhelming favorite with no obvious challenger, according to the New York Times.

Still, the Likud-Beitenu lineup still remains the largest grouping with 31 to 33 of the 120 Knesset seats.

This election’s biggest surprise came from the Yesh Atid party, a new centrist movement founded by television celebrity and political novice Yair Lapid, which came in second with 19 seats, according to the exit polls.

BBC News expects President Shimon Peres will soon ask Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attempt to form a new government; coalition talks – notably with the Yesh Atid party -- may begin as early as next week.

"According to the exit polls, it is clear that Israelis decided that they want me to continue serving as prime minister, and that I form as broad a government as possible," Netanyahu is quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post.

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Newly reelected PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid - Wikimedia

Speaking shortly after his narrow reelection, Netanyahu cited a number of principles his new government will embrace: security, preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, economic responsibility in the face of the global financial crisis, increasing equality in sharing burdens and lowering the cost of living, notably housing costs, CNN reports.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Turkey-Israel Relations? It's Complicated — But The Gaza War Is Different

Turkish President Erdogan has now called on the International Criminal Court to go after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for war crimes, as the clash between the two regional powers has reached a new low.

Photo of ​Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walking

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Elias Kassem

Since the arrival two decades ago of now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been a mix of deep ideological conflict and cover-your-eyes realpolitik.

On the one hand, Erdogan has positioned himself as a kind of global spokesman for the Palestinian cause. His Justice and Development Party has long publicly and financially supported Hamas, which shares similar roots in the 20th-century Muslim Brotherhood movement.

And yet, since 2001 when Erdogan first came to power, trade between Turkey and Israel has multiplied from $1.41 to $8.9 billion in 2022. Moreover, both countries see major potential in transporting newly discovered Israeli natural gas to Europe, via Turkey.

The logic of shared interests clashes with the passions and posturing of high-stakes geopolitics. Diplomatic relations have been cut off, then restored, and since October 7, the countries’ respective ambassadors have been recalled, with accusations flying between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Still, over the past 48 hours, Turkish-Israeli relations may have hit an all-time low.

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