Benjamin Netanyahu's rival party concedes Israeli election

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U.S. President Donald Trump phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to congratulate him on his re-election, and Netanyahu said he thanked his ally for "tremendous support for Israel". Despite the fact that he was challenged hard by former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party, who emerged neck-and-neck with Netanyahu's centre-right Likud, the mathematics of Israel's proportional representation system allows for the formation of a right-wing coalition that will keep Netanyahu in power for another four years.

The president added an optimistic prediction for progress towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan on Thursday denounced newly reelected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vow to annex the occupied West bank as both immoral and a flagrant violation of worldwide law.

Gantz's alliance, which conceded defeat on Wednesday night, however could not peel away enough right-wing votes to unseat Netanyahu. In one of the president's only non-ceremonial roles, he asks that leader to form a government within 42 days.

Commentators have said the looming prospect of indictments in several corruption cases against Netanyahu makes him vulnerable to demands for concessions from smaller parties in any coalition bargaining.

"The hope or yearning for peace is foreign to them", said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a think tank in Jerusalem, told the Journal.

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Tel Aviv Stock Exchange main indexes were up almost 1 percent in late trading on Wednesday, displaying confidence in a veteran prime minister who has overseen a humming economy and blunted various security threats, including from Syria. One of the major factors hastening Mr. Netanyahu's victory was the low voter turnout among Israel's Arab residents, which was below 50%.

The results mean Netanyahu is heading for a record fifth term in office and would become Israel's longest-serving prime minister.

Israel's attorney general has signaled that he's preparing to file corruption charges against Netanyahu.

"It is a night of colossal victory", the 69-year-old Netanyahu told cheering supporters in a late-night speech at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv after Tuesday's vote. First of all, let us not forget that Netanyahu has reached this point already worn down by a tenure with more dark than bright spells.

The US president not only made a decision to brush aside worldwide law with his designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the transfer of the US embassy to the city, but went on to throw in a few extras, such as closing down all contact with the Palestinian Authority, cutting all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and, in a move even more contemptuous of global law, recognising the Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli territory. "They have said no to peace and yes to the occupation".