Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scored a major victory and won a fourth term as Israel’s top leader in Tuesday’s elections.
Although the last public opinion poll before the election indicated that Netanyahu’s Likud party was trailing the opposition Zionist Union coalition by 4 seats, Netanyahu surged at the end of an acrimonious campaign to win a come-from-behind victory.
Although the final results will not be announced for several days, Likud won a projected 30 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, with the left-centrist Zionist Union winning 24 according to unofficial results. Netanyahu now has the inside track on being asked by President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government. He then would have up to 42 days to negotiate with other political parties on forming a ruling coalition.
Netanyahu’s re-election means that he will continue to be a thorn in the side of the Obama White House, which he has criticized for its naïve approach to engaging Iran’s theocratic dictators, negotiations with Tehran on the nuclear issue and the collapsed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
The White House apparently snubbed Netanyahu again today when an Obama aide congratulated Israelis, but not the prime minister, on his election victory. It looks like there will be another two more years of rocky relations between President Obama and Netanyahu, who hold clashing world views on a wide range of issues.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal