Yitzhak Herzog
Yitzhak Herzog Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

As voting came to a close on Tuesday night at 10 p.m., various Israeli news channels began churning out sample result predictions, with a tight race for first place estimated. Some samples give Likud a 28 to 27 advantage over Labor, others show them at a dead heat with 27 each.

Responding to the exit polls, MK Itzik Shmuli from Labor's joint list with Hatnua told Yedioth Aharonoth "this is an effective draw."

"If till now we were sure that at ten the elections would end, the 'party' has just gotten started," he said. "We are entering a great battle with the party heads and I very much rely on (Labor head Yitzhak) Herzog and his political ability to form a coalition that will put an end to the bad years."

The reference to a "battle" with party heads refers to the race to form a coalition government with at least a 61 seat majority, with it remaining to be seen which party will get more recommendations from party chairpersons and therefore be given first opportunity to build a coalition.

Labor MK Shelly Yechimovich, formerly party chairperson before losing to Herzog in primaries, also responded to the initial exit polls.

"Something incredible has happened - 27 mandates, in two of the exit polls there's a draw," said Yechimovich; in the third exit poll Likud gained a 28 to 27 advantage, and a fourth result by Channel 20 indicates a 23 to 20 Likud victory.

"The game really really isn't over," stressed Yechimovich. "I see 57 certain recommendations."

How she reached that conclusion of party MKs that would join a possible leftist coalition remains unclear, but it certainly would seem to include the joint Arab list, which is mulling over joining a Labor government.

Michal Biran, also of Labor, told Walla! that her party expected a wider gap as opposed to the draw seen in several of the exit polls, but "on the other hand, the results were amazing."

"Three months ago we were in a different place, there was a poll in which we got ten mandates and we had no goal to crash (Yesh Atid's Yair) Lapid," Biran said. "We need to wait for true results, I think that Herzog will form the next government."

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