Two weeks after he stirred controversy in the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was officially reelected, with nearly 100 percent of the votes in and counted on Wednesday. Netanyahu and the Likud Party picked up at least 29 seats in the Knesset, defeating the more left Zionist Union party by a considerable margin. The easy win for Netanyahu comes as a surprise for many, as the conservative prime minister was behind in recent opinion polls.
According to Israeli media outlet Ynet News, Netanyahu and the Likud Party had the most support in Jerusalem, as well as the southern Israeli cities of Be'er Sheva and Sderot, the latter of which saw nearly 43 percent voting for Likud and just 11.84 percent favoring Zionist Union. Likud also picked up big wins in the northern cities of Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya.
Meanwhile, the Zionist Union party won easily in Tel Aviv, garnering 34.25 percent of the vote, and in the eastern Israeli city of Givatayim, picking up more than 40 percent of voters. The left-leaning party also won by five percent of the vote in Haifa, the largest city in northern Israel.
Netanyahu made his victory speech early Wednesday morning, and he was no doubt ecstatic to remain in power. According to The Jerusalem Post, his supporters chanted, "Hail, hail, Bibi" when he took to the podium.
Netanyahu said in his speech:
We have scored a major victory for the nationalist camp headed by Likud. I'm proud of the Israeli people because at the moment of truth they knew to differentiate between challenge and nonsense and they took up the challenge.
The newly reelected prime minister also sent out a series of triumphant tweets early Wednesday morning:
Netanyahu also promised via Twitter that he will "lower housing costs" and the cost of living in Israel. He also urged his followers to support an "undivided Jerusalem."
The prime minister's big win may also come as a surprise for many in America, as his recent appearance divided our already torn-apart Congress and further deteriorated Israel's relations with the White House. The White House and President Obama have yet to congratulate Netanyahu on his decisive victory.
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