By Associated Press
September 18, 2019

After an apparent election setback, Israel’s prime minister says he will seek the formation of a new “Zionist” government that excludes Arab parties.

Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a small crowd of supporters in Tel Aviv at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, more than five hours after voting ended.

Initial exit polls placed challenger Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party just ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, hurting Netanyahu’s chances of remaining as prime minister.

Exit polls are often imprecise, and Netanyahu said he would wait for official results before making conclusions.

But he said he would not allow the formation of a new government with Arab partners. He said: “There will not be and there cannot be a government that leans on Arab, anti-Zionist parties.”

Netanyahu’s campaign repeatedly questioned the loyalty of Israel’s Arab citizens.

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