Bejamin Netanyahu addresses supporters on election night. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

If the Benjamin Netanyhahu era is coming to an end, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister is going out swinging.

By the numbers: Netanyahu’s Likud party is on course for 31 seats after Tuesday’s election, with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party winning 33, per Haaretz. But Gantz’s center-left bloc (57 seats) and Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc (55) are both short of the 61 seats needed for a majority.

  • The remaining 8 seats belong to a party led by Avigdor Lieberman, formerly Netanyahu’s defense minister.
  • Now a kingmaker, Lieberman wants a “national unity” government involving both Likud and Blue and White, but excluding Arab parties on the left and ultra-Orthodox parties on the right.
  • Netanyahu is now leading the call for a unity government, an outcome he would have scoffed at before the election, but has suddenly embraced with his political and legal future looking uncertain. He’s hinting at a possible rotating premiership.
  • Gantz says he’d support a unity government, but only with him as prime minister. He says he won’t serve under Netanyahu, who faces 3 pending corruption indictments and has made securing immunity his top legislative priority.
  • Gantz, 60, is a former military chief but a political novice. He’s campaigned as the steady, moderate alternative to the fiery Netanyahu.

What’s next: After consultations with the parties, President Reuven Rivlin will select a candidate to attempt to form a government. If no solution is reached, new elections are possible.

  • President Trump reacted cooly to the possible loss of his closest international ally. America's relations, he said, "are with Israel."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

U.S. policy shift will allow taxpayer funding for projects in West Bank settlements

Friedman (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel will announce tomorrow that they are expanding three agreements on scientific cooperation to include Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is a substantial policy shift for the U.S., which did not previously allow its taxpayers' money to be spent in the Israeli settlements.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.