And the strong results for centrist parties left the Knesset’s 120 seats equally divided by the country’s rightwing and centre-left blocs.
Though the split means the centre-left could seek to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government, his strong showing leaves him well-placed to form a broad-based coalition, analysts said.
With 99.5 percent of the votes counted, Israel’s electoral committee said the list grouping Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud and the secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu faction had won 31 seats.
The national religious Jewish Home won 11 seats, as did the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox Shas. The Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism faction won seven seats, bringing the blo…