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With 99% of the vote in Israel’s elections counted, the right-wing bloc appears to have lost one Knesset seat from earlier results bringing its total number to 58. Blue & White gained one seat at the expense of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.
Here are the latest results:
Likud – 36
Blue and White – 33
Arab List – 15
Shas – 9
Yisrael Beyteinu – 7
Labor-Meretz – 7
UTJ – 7
Yamina – 6
These results still do not include the 340,000 votes from military polls, the votes of diplomats overseas and the tally from special polling stations including over 4000 votes from the dedicated stations set up for voters who have been exposed to the coronavirus.
While it’s still possible for the uncounted votes to potentially swing the final results by 1 seat in either direction, it looks like PM Netanyahu has won the mandate to form a new government and will now need to engage in some very serious political deal making to get the 61 seat majority he needs to succeed.
Blue and White sources are saying that party leader Benny Gantz has efforts to pass a law that would prevent an indicted MK from forming a government. The Knesset reconvenes on Monday March 16, and Blue and White currently controls the House Committee, which sets the agenda for votes in the Knesset plenum. The bill would be supported by the 62 MKs who are not part of the right-wing block.
Israel’s Ministry of Health has announced that three more Israelis have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. This brings to 15 the number of Israelis stricken with the virus. The three new cases found are a female soldier who works part time in the Red Pirate toy store in Or Yehuda and a customer who spent 15 minutes in the store. Both contracted the disease from the store manager who returned from northern Italy last week. The third new case is a person who returned from Italy last week but has remained in self quarantine at home. All three new cases are mild.
Around 5,000 people who attended a soccer match at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium last week have been ordered to immediately self-quarantine after it was discovered that a 9th grader infected with coronavirus at the toy store in Or Yehuda was among a crowd of fans.
In addition, the health ministry ordered all 1,150 students and staff at a school in Brenner Regional Council, attended by the infected teenager, to self-quarantine until March 12. The second patient who also contracted the virus at the store is a deputy school principal in the city of Kiryat Ono in central Israel. She and 27 of her students were also ordered to self-quarantine.