The latest on Israel's elections for the 21st Knesset


President Reuven Rivlin agreed with the head of the Central Elections Committee that his consultations with the political parties ahead of forming the government will begin next week at the presidential residence. Rivlin announced that his meetings with the various factions will be broadcast live, on all platforms, in the name of transparency.


The Central Elections Committee will this evening beginning counting ballots cast in double envelopes by IDF soldiers, members of the diplomatic corps and prisoners. The head of the Central Elections Committee said the process is expected to be completed by early Thursday afternoon.


Gesher led by Orly Levy, Moshe Faiglin's Zehut and the New Right led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked all failed to enter the Knesset but the New Right hopes the soldiers' votes will push them above the threshold.


With almost all the votes counted Likud and Blue and White won 35 seats each.Shas and United Torah Judaism 8 each.Labor and Hadash-Ta'al 6 each.The United Right and Yisrael Beitenu 5 each.Meretz, Ra'am-Balad and Kulanu 4 each. The right/religious bloc won 65 seats compared to 55 for the center/left/Arab parties.Voter turnout was 67.9percent.


Benjamin Netanyahu wins an unprecedented 5th term as prime minister after the right/religious bloc wins at least 65 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. This number could increase with the counting of the soldiers' votes . The Arab Ra'am-Balad party, which won 4 seats, is in danger of falling beneath the minimum threshold while the New Right, led by ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked , currently outside the Knesset, hopes the soldiers' votes will push them above the threshold.


With 93 percent of the votes counted it shows a virtual tie between the Blue and White Party led by Benny Gantz and the Likud Party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A number show a favorable lead by the right wing bloc over the left-central bloc. They also show a number of surprises including some parties unexpectedly not passing the threshold.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz have claimed victory.
According to the Central Elections Committee, Likud and Blue and white each have 35 mandates in the 120 member Knesset.
The Shas Party got 8 seats, as well as the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism. Labor won just 6 seats and 6 seats also went to Hadash Ta’al. Yisrael Beitenu got 5 seats and the Union of right wing parties also got 5. With Kulanu, Meretz and Balad each getting 4 seats.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main challenger Benny Gantz were neck and neck after Israeli elections on Tuesday, exit polls showed, but the Likud party leader appeared better placed to form a coalition. Both men claimed victory after exit surveys by the three main television stations gave the Likud between 33 and 36 seats in the 120-member Knesset, while Gantz's Blue and White won either 36 or 37 seats. Exit polls suggested a right-wing bloc led by the Likud could have 60-66 seats, while a coalition led by Blue and White could have 54-60 seats.


Voter turnout at 8 p.m. is 61.3 percent, about one percent lower than voter turnout at that hour in 2015.


Voter turnout at 6 p.m. is 52 percent, 2.6 percent lower than turnout at the same hour in the 2015 elections.


Voter turnout at 4 p.m. stood at 42.8 percent, continuing to lag behind turnout for the 2015 elections.


Some 10,000 Israelis flock to the Sea of Galilee on the Election Day holiday.


Yisrael Beiteinu lodges a complaint with the Central Elections Committee against the New Right party, for sending text and voice messages to the Russian speaking public,  claiming that Yisrael Beiteinu will not pass the electoral threshold, and voters should vote for the New Right


Voter turnout at 2pm stood at 35.8 percent- just less than 1 percent lower than the last elections for the same time. 


By noon, voter turnout stood at 24.8 percent of eligible voters – 2.1 percent lower than turnout for this hour in the 2015. This is also lower than turnout for this hour in the 2013 vote.


The Central Elections Committee reiterates that it is forbidden to film voters after the Likud reportedely placed cameras at polling stations in Arab communities.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his vote in Jerusalem , urging support for the Likud. "We have so much to do continue to strengthen the economy and development ," he said.


President Reuven Rivlin votes in Jerusalem, calling on Israelis to exercise their right to vote."Those who determine the outcome is you," he said.


Blue and White chair Benny Gantz votes close to his home in Rosh Ha'ayin in central Israel. "Let's go in a new direction,"he said. "I will be the next prime minister."


Israel votes. Polling stations opened across the country at 7am and will close at 10 pm when the main television channels will publish their exit polls.