Exit polls show that the national election in Israel has finished with no clear lead for any party.
Netanyahu’s Likud party and the opposition Zionist Union are neck and neck with the Arab alliance in third place.
RT reports: Channel 10 and Channel 1 said the two opposing parties secured 27 seats each in the 120-member parliament – the Knesset. Channel 2 said that PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud finished with a narrow victory, winning 28 seats to the 27 of Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union.
The Joint Arab List, led by Ayman Odeh, which has emerged as one of the surprises in the election campaign, took the third place in the vote, according to exit polls.
The Tuesday election proved to be a test for Israel’s long-serving PM Benjamin Netanyahu, with the vote having been predicted to be a closely-fought battle. While Netanyahu stayed true to his hardline policies, having once again announced on Monday that he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state, the Zionist Union concentrated their election campaign on social and economic issues.
Voter turnout in the election has surpassed 2013 attendance levels, with almost 66 percent of 5.9 million eligible voters declared to have attended two hours before the polls closed.
Turnout among Arab Israelis, who account for just over 20 percent of the population, was reported to have been higher than in the past. They were seen to have formed long lines outside polling stations on Tuesday, with the leader of the Arab Joint List Ayman Odeh describing the current vote as “a historic day for the Arabs.”