DEBKAfile January 23, 2013, 6:55 AM (GMT+02:00)
The bloc Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud formed Israeli Beitenu polled a disappointing 31 seats (in the 120-member Knesset) in Tuesday, Jan. 22, general election, according to 99 percent count of ballots of exit polls Tuesday night. The big winner is a newcomer to Israeli politics, Yair Lapid, with 19 seats, who managed to push Shelly Yacimovich’s veteran Labor party down to third place with only 15 seats. Jewish Home under its new leader, proNaftali Bennett and ultra-religious Shas – draw 11 each, Tzipi Livni’s Hatenua, 6, level with Meretz, Kadima is fighting for 2. The left-of-center bloc along with the 11 Arab parties might make it to 60 seats if Yair Lapid opts to lead it.
Final results are promised Thursday morning.