Skip to main content

Netanyahu set to make a comeback, Israel exit polls suggest

Initial exit polls offer opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu's camp a majority in the Knesset, with either 61 or 62 seats out of 120.
Former Israeli Prime Minister and Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu cast their vote in the Israeli general election on November 1, 2022 in UNSPECIFIED, Israel. Israelis return to the polls on November 1 for a fifth general election in four years to vote for a new Knesset, the 120-seat parliament. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing/ultra-Orthodox camps are set to win a Knesset majority in today's elections, initial exit polls predict, with either 61 or 62 seats out of 120. Most polls indicate that the Likud party received 31 seats, while Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid garnered only 24 seats. The third largest party is now Religious Zionism of far-right Bezalel Smotrich and ultranationalist Itamar Ben-Gvir, which apparently got 14 seats.

One out of the three Arab parties — Balad — apparently did not make it past the Knesset-entry threshold, though the voting rate within the Arab sector was much higher than expected up until two weeks ago. The final results might still change that and determine whether the Likud would get 61 or 62 seats. Likud seniors were cautious this evening to express full joy, noting that final results would be published only later in the week, either on Thursday or Friday.

Senior Likud member Miri Regev reiterated this evening Netanyahu’s position that Ben-Gvir was entitled to become minister. US senior officials and American Jewish leaders had warned recently against appointing the ultranationalist as a minister in a future cabinet.

The Central Elections Committee now has one week to publish official results. After submitting the official results to the president, Isaac Herzog will invite the heads of the parties so as to hear whom they recommend for the task of assembling the government. The person tasked with this mission has three weeks to negotiate with future partners and can ask for another two weeks if he fails to do so in the first period. 

Netanyahu’s expected comeback comes after five election rounds in less than four years. The last four elections all resulted in a political stalemate. Netanyahu first served as premier between 1996-1999, winning the elections that took place after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. He then came back to power in 2009, serving until 2021. He is already Israel's longest-serving prime minister.

The last public opinion polls of Oct. 28 predicted a tie between the two blocs, offering Netanyahu’s camp 60 Knesset seats (one short of the majority).

Shortly before the first exit polls were published, the Central Elections Committee reported a 66.3% turnout as of 8 p.m. local time, much higher than the 60.9% at the same time in 2021. It is the highest number at that time since 1999 when 71.4% had voted by 8 p.m.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in