Final results from this week's Israeli election published today left Benjamin Netanyahu on course to remain prime minister although there were reports of pressure on him not to form another narrow right-wing coalition.
No political party in Israel's more than 70-year history has ever won a majority entirely alone and Netanyahu faces a choice between forming a new coalition of right-wing and religious parties, or a grand alliance with the centre.
Although the ballot count is complete, commission head Hanan Melzer said the results were not official and still subject to review. However, the right-wing bloc in the parliament secured a majority big enough to make Netanyahu highly likely to form the next coalition government.
President Donald Trump (L) and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu show the proclamation recognizing Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights after a meeting outside the West Wing of the White House on March 25, 2019.
During the election campaign, Netanyahu highlighted his close relationship with Trump, erecting billboards showing the two leaders smiling and shaking hands.
Gantz said the conversation Friday morning between the victor and the beaten challenger was short and to the point.
His likely partners include Shas, with eight seats, and United Torah Judaism, with seven seats, both Jewish ultra-Orthodox parties. But with Trump's moves on Jerusalem and the Golan, the prime minister may feel emboldened to advocate annexation.More news: All of the Marvel Disney
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One of the major factors hastening Netanyahu's victory was the low voter turnout among Israel's Arab residents, which was below 50 percent.
Trapped in a vortex of violence between Hezbollah-backed Hamas of Ismail Haniyeh and the Israeli Defense Forces, shorn of support from the Gulf states who have warmed to Mr Netanyahu as their new ally in the war against common enemy Tehran, the Palestinians have lost what little support there was for a Palestinian state; be it, two state or one. "Our fear is that such unilateral steps - whether from Israelis or Palestinians - would push the parties farther from a final, negotiated settlement". Still, they saw their representation dip.
Hadash-Ta'al, an alliance of Arab parties, won six seats, and Ra'am-Balad, another Arab party alliance, won four seats.
In addition, Netanyahu himself, in his eagerness to rally votes, has made promises that he will find hard to keep without also endangering national interests.
On Thursday, a public relations firm said it orchestrated the operation on Likud's behalf, distributing 1,200 hidden cameras, and claiming to have played a role in the suppressed vote.
"We respect the decision of the people", Gantz said on Wednesday night.