Netanyahu makes triumphant comeback; Israeli PM Lapid concedes defeattext_fields
Jerusalem: Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid contacted opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to congratulate him on winning the election, which gave his coalition of right-wing parties a solid majority in the legislature.
Netanyahu's right-wing party had a commanding lead with 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset after 99 per cent of the votes had been counted, opening the door for his triumphant comeback.
Lapid told Netanyahu he's instructed all departments of the Prime Minister's Office to prepare for an orderly transfer of power.
"The State of Israel is above any political consideration," Lapid said in a tweet. "I wish Netanyahu luck for the sake of the people of Israel and the State of Israel."
Israelis voted on Tuesday for an unprecedented fifth time in four years to break the political impasse that has paralysed the Jewish nation.
According to the latest updates from the Central Elections Committee, Netanyahu's Likud party will receive 31 seats, Prime Minister Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid 24, Religious Zionism 14, National Unity 12, Shas 11 and United Torah Judaism will have eight seats.
For many years, Netanyahu appeared to be politically invincible. But he met with a rude jolt after being ousted in 2021 by an unprecedented coalition of parties whose only common goal was to see his ouster.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1949, Netanyahu holds the record of being the longest-serving Prime Minister in the country's history. Having served in the position earlier between 1996 and 1999, Netanyahu in 2020 surpassed the record held by one of the Jewish state's founding leaders, David Ben-Gurion.
With PTI inputs