Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now won the neck and neck race against newly formed Blue and White party leader, Benny Gantz.
Gantz just conceded defeat a few hours ago.
Netanyahu has been making headlines for facing possible allegations of corruption and accepting gifts that could have been exchanged for favors.
He represents the Likud party, that has mostly been in power the last few decades, but up until this election, a newly formed party almost made history.
“It’s still unusual for a party that’s three months old to have the equal amount of votes or more votes than the Likud party in the election and i think that speaks to the amount of people in Israel that really wanted to outs Netanyahu,” said Director of the Jewish Studies Program at Michigan Stat, Serling and Friends Chair of Israel Studies and also International Affairs professor, Yael Aronoff.
For some locals though, the close race doesn’t come as a shock.
“I’m not surprised at all that it was so close,” said Jewish Student Life Coordinator, Eitan Moed.
Moed moved back to the United States in December, after living in Israel for 13 years. He says he thinks Isrealis weren’t looking for any surprises in the upcoming election and are comfortable with Netanyahu in power, but Aronoff thinks otherwise.
“I think that many Isrealis were understandably ready for new leadershipthat might unite the country and galvenized for new leadership,” said Aronoff.
Aronoff added that it’s become more common for populist leaders to win more elections and think that the close relationships that Netanyahu has could have helped him win.
“Obviously President Trump didn’t have a huge effect in the election but may have pushed him over the edge,” said Aronoff.
Netanyahu was behind in the polls a few weeks ago when President Donald Trump recognized the power Israel has of the Golan Heights territory and moving the U.S. Embassy.
There will be a more in-depth dicussion at 7:30 tonight at James Madison College on Michigan State’s campus.