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Netanyahu cancels UN visit over post-poll ‘political context’: Officials

Published: Updated:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled his planned visit to the United Nations General Assembly due to the “political context in the country”, sources in his office told AFP Wednesday.

Initial results from Tuesday’s general election show Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with the Blue and White alliance of his main challenger, former army chief Benny Gantz.

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.

In a related development, Israel’s Arab coalition appears poised to emerge as the main opposition bloc following Tuesday’s election, a historic first that would grant a new platform to a long-marginalized minority.