Israel's president says he has decided to give opposition leader Benny Gantz the first opportunity to form a new government following an inconclusive national election this month.
Surveys conducted by three Israeli networks gave Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party between 36 and 37 seats in Israel's 120-member parliament.
Opposition politicians accuse the Israeli prime minister of putting his personal interests above those of the state.
Israeli politicians no longer have the Palestinians or Arabs to unite voters against and are forced to face battle the country's internal contradictions and deep polarisation.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gives PM Benjamin Netanyahu up to six weeks to form a coalition, and If he fails, his main challenger Benny Gantz will likely be given a chance. Gantz rules out joining government with PM facing indictment.
President Reuven Rivlin is expected to select the candidate he deems most able to form a stable coalition based on recommendations by PM Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and Benny Gantz's Blue and White parties.
Israel's Arab-dominated Joint List party, backed Benny Gantz to form a new government, making Gantz's bloc of supporters larger than that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Likud party leader and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu falls behind rival Benny Gantz from Blue and White party, which sees a surprising surge in votes
Israel's parliament voted to dissolve itself early, sending the country to an unprecedented second snap election this year as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition before a midnight deadline.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hit a political deadlock with his rival Avigdor Lieberman, who is unwilling to lend him support until his demand of having ultra-Orthodox Jews perform military service is met.
A key coalition partner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government said that he would not withdraw his party, keeping the coalition intact despite a crisis triggered by a violent flare-up with Gaza militants.
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