Benjamin Netanyahu's win in Israeli elections has triggered fears that his right-wing coalition may seize control of the disputed territory of the West Bank and its population of 2.6 million Palestinians.
Netanyahu has won his fifth term as Israel's Prime Minister, ringing in a victory for the country's right wing and religious community and threatening an even more fraught relationship with the Palestinians.
News coverage carried on well into the early morning hours of Wednesday, with leaders of both major parties declaring victory at various points as Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party remained neck-and-neck with rival Benny Gantz's center-right Blue and White party for seats in Israel's Knesset.
But despite tied numbers for the two parties on Wednesday morning — 35 seats each, with 97 percent of votes counted — all that mattered was the strength of each side's coalitions and Netanyahu won that argument convincingly.
"This will be a very, very right wing government," Amos Hochstein, a former U.S. diplomat and Obama administration official, told CNBC via phone on Wednesday.
"This is a decisive and massive election victory for Netanyahu, a decisive election for the right wing in Israel. It's not a close election — not even a little bit close."
As no major party has ever won a majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Netanyahu and Gantz had to rely on the smaller parties in their coalitions winning enough votes to tip their group over the halfway mark and win a majority of seats.
Gantz, despite early enthusiasm for his newly formed party, led by three former army chiefs of staff, failed to achieve that. The right wing and religious parties in the Likud-led coalition won more seats than the left, centrist and Arab parties combined.