Israel's Netanyahu poised for comeback, exit polls show

STORY: Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed set to return to power after exit polls showed his right-wing bloc winning a narrow majority in Israel's parliamentary elections on Tuesday.

Israeli television projected that the man known as "Bibi," who was already the country's longest-serving prime minister when he was ousted last year, appeared to command 61-62 seats in Israel's 120-member Knesset.

The contest was Israel’s fifth parliamentary election in four years.

Despite what some have dubbed "election fatigue," voters turned out at levels reported to be the highest since 1999.

The contest seems to end the brief premiership of Yair Lapid, who brokered the coalition that toppled Bibi in 2021.

His centrist camp was projected to win 54-55 seats.

He campaigned on his stewardship of Israel's economy and diplomatic advances with Lebanon and Turkey.

But it appears that was not enough to stop a resurgent right.

The contest was shaken up by ultra-nationalist firebrand Itamar Ben-Gvir and his Religious Zionism list, now set to be the third-largest party in parliament.

Netanyahu has been counting on support from the far-right faction to put him back on top.

A series of Palestinian militant attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers focused voters’ attention on security, and Netanyahu has long fashioned himself as among the most hawkish leaders in Israel's history.