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ISRAEL

Israel's Netanyahu calls for a 'strong zionist government', while Gantz says he 'fulfilled our mission'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in a battle for political survival after exit polls following Tuesday's election showed the race too close to call and the Israeli leader's decade-long grip on power slipping. Netanyahu's main election challenger, centrist Benny Gantz, said on Wednesday it appeared from the exit polls that Israel's longest-serving leader was defeated but that only official results would tell. In his own speech to right-wing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, sipping water frequently and speaking in a hoarse voice, made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he was awaiting a vote tally.

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