Exit polls: Zionist Union, Likud neck and neck at top

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is neck-and-neck atop exit polls with the center-left Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog.

Exit polls from Israeli Channel 1 and Channel 10 gave the two top parties 27 seats each. Channel 2’s estimate placed at Likud 28 and Zionist Union at 27.

Polls showed the Arab-Israeli Joint List coming in third with 13 seats, according to Channels 2 and 10, and the centrist Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid and currently the Knesset’s largest party, coming in fourth. The newly founded Kulanu, led by former Likud minister Moshe Kachlon, placed fifth.

According to the Channel 1 and Channel 10 polls, the right-wing-haredi Orthodox bloc will hold 54 seats, with the center-left-Arab bloc at 56 seats. Channel 2 has them at 54 and 57, respectively.


President Reuven Rivlin responded to the results by calling for a unity government.

Jewish Home, the pro-settler, religious Zionist party led by Naftali Bennett, placed sixth with 9 seats, according to Channel 1, down from the 12 it holds in the current Knesset.

The haredi Orthodox Shas party came in seventh with 7 seats. United Torah Judaism came in eighth with six seats, though Channel 10 had it tied at 7 with Shas. In a tie for ninth and tenth were the left-wing Meretz and right-wing Israel Beiteinu with five seats each, according to all polls. The far-right Yachad did not win enough votes to enter Knesset.

The next Knesset will have 10 parties, while the outgoing one has 12.