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Israel polls: Netanyahu-led alliance wins majority, Lapid concedes defeat

As the final thousands of votes were being tallied Thursday evening, Prime Minister Yair Lapid called opposition leader Netanyahu to concede the race and congratulate him on his election victory, The Times of Israel reported.

IANS | Jerusalem |

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a comeback with a decisive victory in the country’s general elections, poll results showed on Thursday.

As the final thousands of votes were being tallied Thursday evening, Prime Minister Yair Lapid called opposition leader Netanyahu to concede the race and congratulate him on his election victory, The Times of Israel reported.

“The State of Israel is above any political considerations,” Lapid said in a statement. “I wish Netanyahu good luck for the people of Israel and the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu will control not just the largest party in the Knesset (Israeli parliament), but is poised to return to power leading a 64-strong majority bloc of his religious and right-wing allies in the 120-member Knesset.

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party won 32 seats and his right-wing religious and nationalist bloc won 64 in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, according to Israel’s Central Elections Committee.

Lapid’s Yesh Atid party won 24 seats and his bloc of right-wing, left-wing and Arab parties secured 51.

Reacting to Netanyahu’s victory, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, said: “Mazel Tov my friend @netanyahu for your electoral success. I look forward to continuing our joint efforts to deepen the India-Israel strategic partnership.”

Prime Minister Modi also thanked Lapid for giving priority to the India-Israel strategic partnership.

“Thank you @yairlapid for your priority to the India-Israel strategic partnership. I hope to continue our fruitful exchange of ideas for the mutual benefit of our peoples,” he tweeted.