Exit polls by Israel’s leading television channels showed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last ditch campaign had a strong effect on the Israeli electorate. Last weeks final polls had  Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union with a four seat lead over Netanyahu’s Likud party. Announced immediately after polls closed, Israeli Channel 10 and Channel 1 said Likud and the Zionist Union had secured 27 seats each in the 120-member Knesset, while Israeli Channel 2 said that Netanyahu had eked out a narrow victory, winning 28 seats to 27 for Herzog. 

Also know that exit polls do not include the military vote which tends to lean a bit right wing. During the last election the military vote ended up moving one seat away from one of the Arab parties to one of the religious parties, but there is no guarantee.

But as explained earlier, because Netanyahu has a much better possibility of making a coalition, a tie is a victory for Bibi. The real power broker is the Kulanu party which ran on a platform built around middle class issues in general, and banking reform in particular – won 9-10 seats. They hold the key to either coalition. With Kahlon/Kulanu, the political right has 64 seats and a majority…without Kulanu all bets are off.  While Kulanu has roots in the right, party leader Moshe Kahlon is not a big fan of Bibi. On the other hand Kulanu hawkish on Iran and tough on terror.  It’s hard to believe that he will end up with the Zionist Union, especially after party leader Herzog state he trusted Obama to Negotiate a good Iran deal.

It’s going to be expensive…look for Netanyahu to give Kahlon anything he wants (treasury and housing) and in the end the “frenamies” will end up on the same side.

Below is a summary of the exit poll results:

Update: Bibi claims victory on Twitter: