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Benjamin Netanyahu hails 'great victory' in poll

The son of a Belfast-born rabbi appeared to have lost out in the election to lead his country after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory last night.

After a tight national election, Mr Netanyahu appeared to have the upper hand in forming the country's next coalition government.

Initial exit polls showed Likud deadlocked with the centre-left Zionist Union led by Isaac Herzog, the son of Chaim Herzog, the sixth President of Israel who was born at Cliftonpark Avenue in north Belfast.

In a statement released on Twitter, Mr Netanyahu said that "against all odds" his Likud Party and the nationalist camp secured a "great victory". But the results indicated that Mr Netanyahu will have an easier time cobbling together a majority coalition with hardline and religious allies.

Mr Netanyahu said he had already begun to call potential partners.

Exit polls showed the centrist newcomer Moshe Kahlon with enough seats to determine who will be the next prime minister.

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