The exit polls conducted by three major Israeli television channels showed a slender Likud lead over its rival, with a one seat margin of victory, while the partial returns counted by 6 am have Netanyahu with a six seat lead on the Zionist Union, at 30 and 24.
A count of 99 percent of the ballot boxes had Likud with 30 seats and Zionist Union with 24. The Joint Arab List placed third behind the two major parties with 14 seats. Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid received 11 seats.
Moshe Kahlon, lauded as this election cycle's kingmaker, received 10 seats in the count, with Bayit Yehudi maintaining its eight seats, Yisrael Beytenu with six seats, United Torah Judaism and Shas at 7, Meretz dropping to 4.
Eli Yishai's Yachad did not pass the election threshold of 3.25 percent.