(CBS) –– Officially, it’s too close to call, but unofficially, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming victory in Tuesday’s Israeli election.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker has more.
The Israeli parliamentary election returns are tight but it appears Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has scored a narrow win. Hours after the polls closed, Netanyahu claimed victory.
But opponent Victor Herzog declared “everything is still open,” and said he’s waiting for the final results.
Netanyahu turned to the right in the final weeks of the campaign. He said he’s changed his mind and will never allow the creation of a Palestinian state.
Could his new stance jeopardize relations with the Obama administration? That remains to be seen, but a Chicago Jewish leader doubts it.
“The relationship between the United States and Israel is as strong as ever,” said David Prystowsky of the Jewish United Fund. “We see that in polling, we see that amongst popular opinion and we see that amongst the strategic relationship between the two countries.”
Earlier this month, Netanyahu accepted a Republican invitation to address a joint session of Congress, which President Obama did not endorse. Many American Jews fear Netanyahu undermined Israel’s traditional, two-party support.
“If Israel becomes a partisan issue, I think it really does harm the U.S.-Israel relationship,” said Professor William Adler of Northeastern Illinois University.
Outside a Northwest Side synagogue Tuesday night, Nachum Stein told us he’s okay with Netanyahu.
“I was a little apprehensive with Herzog so at least we have somebody that I’ve heard of, and I know before. So under the circumstances I’m fairly comfortable,” he said.
It appears that Netanyahu has the best chance of forming a coalition government with his right wing allies.
It’s believed that Palestinian leaders will now move forward in their effort to bring war crimes charges against Israel in the international criminal court.