Netanyahu declares ‘night of tremendous victory’; NY Times called it a ‘setback’

by WorldTribune Staff, April 10, 2019

After an election in which his Likud Party exceeded expectations, an exuberant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “The people of Israel again showed their trust in me, for the fifth time, and even greater trust.”

The New York Times viewed the outcome as “humbling” and a “setback”.

Netanyahu’s Likud Party and The Blue and White Party of Benny Gantz both won 35 seats in the April 9 voting. But Netanyahu will likely be able to cobble together a governing coalition, as the right-wing bloc is projected to have 65 seats (out of 120) versus 55 for the left-wing bloc.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“I’m very excited tonight, it’s a night of tremendous victory. I’m telling you – this is a huge achievement, almost inconceivable. Under impossible conditions, the Likud has grown dramatically,” Netanyahu said.

“Already tonight I have begun talks with heads of the right-wing parties, our natural partners. Already tonight, almost all of them declared publicly that they will recommend me to form the next government. I intend to finish the job quickly in order to establish a nationalist, stable government,” Netanyahu said.

“It will be a right-wing government, but I intend to be the prime minister of all the citizens of Israel. Right and left, Jews and non-Jews alike. All the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “We face tremendous challenges – in security, economy, society, foreign relations. Security challenges and challenges to the normalization and peace with the Arab world. I am sure that by joining forces we will be able to meet all these challenges.”

Throughout the evening, exit polls had showed a tight race between Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White, yet The New York Times was quick to declare the election a “humbling setback” for Netanyahu.

The Times tweeted: “Breaking News: Israel’s elections were a setback for Benjamin Netanyahu, exit polls showed. It’s unclear if he or his rival will be able to form a government.”

In an article linked by the tweet, the Times elaborated: “Regardless of who becomes the next prime minister, the election has already proven to be a humbling setback for Mr. Netanyahu, 69, who has built a strong economy, kept the country safe and has been promoted by President Trump. It has also placed Mr. Gantz’s new Blue and White party in the position of the main alternative to the right wing, a spot once held by the Labor party.”

Guy Elster, foreign affairs editor for Israel’s Walla News, took the Times to task for what he called its “very poor understanding of the situation.”

Others on Twitter wondered how the Times could conclude the election was a setback for Netanyahu since, as one poster put it, “he will have an even larger coalition than before.”

One post noted that the Times’ tweet was “contrary to almost every bit of news coming out of Israel since the exit poll was released.”

Another summed it up: “The only setback is for the NY Times. That’s the truth.”

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