(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Zionist Union party, called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning to congratulate him on winning Tuesday’s election, which pre-election polls had shown Herzog’s party might win.
Despite a lead of up to four seats in the polls immediately preceding Tuesday’s election and a draw or one-set deficit projected by exit polls Tuesday night, the Zionist Union ended up with only 24 seats, while Likud won 30.
Speaking to reporters outside his house on Wednesday, Herzog said, “I wished the prime minister good luck, but I hope the citizens of Israel realize that the challenges are still the same challenges and the problems are still the same problems. Nothing has changed.” He vowed that he and Zionist Union co-leader Tzipi Livni would continue to steer the party to serve as an alternative to Likud.
“We will continue to fight for a more just society, for the peace process, and for Israeli democracy,” said Herzog. “We will continue to fight for a Jewish democratic state and we will not let up. … This is not the time to talk about governments or coalitions. Right now, above all else, Israel needs a different voice, an alternative—a voice that will continue to tell the truth, the real truth. This truth has elicited immense support from the people. Our truth hasn’t seen this kind of support in almost an entire generation.”