The incumbent was confident he would be successful.

Any hopes by his detractors that Israeli voters would give Binyamin Netanyahu marching orders after nine years at the helm looked set to be dashed on Tuesday night, as exit polls pointed to the strong likelihood that he will serve a fourth term as prime minister, possibly as head of a national unity government.

Confounding earlier opinion polls that showed a slim lead for the center-left “Zionist Union” bloc led by Labor leader Isaac Herzog, exit polls by Israel’s major television networks put the two neck-and-neck – 27 seats each – and in one case gave the Likud a one-seat advantage, 28-27.