Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

CNN International: Voting Ends Soon Across Israel, Exit Polls Expected; U.S. Stocks Rally On Hopes Central Banks Cut Rates. Aired 3- 4p ET

Aired March 2, 2020 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: At last count, turnout was at a 20-year high according to the Israeli Central Elections Commission. This is the scene. There are two men vying to lead Israel's next government.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the dominant force in Israeli politics over the last quarter century. His party is the rightwing, Likud and Benny Gantz, the former military chief who has positioned his Blue and White Party as the more centrist option, but while there are third parties in the running tonight, Netanyahu and Gantz will dominate.

Depending on the results, one of the two men will likely be given yet another chance to court smaller parties and to form a government.

Well, it's now the stroke of 10:00 p.m. here in Israel. The voting, officially ending any moment now. We will bring you the exit projections from three Israeli news networks and they should give us a first glimpse of how the final results might look.

A reminder, this election promises to be razor thin. Any exit poll we bring you tonight is only preliminary and things will likely change as the political jockeying begins.

Yohanan Plesner is the President of the Israel Democracy Institute and a former Knesset member from the Kadima Party. And we await these first exit polls. Your thoughts at this point?

YOHANAN PLESNER, PRESIDENT, ISRAEL DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE: Well, first of all, it's a show of strength to Israel's democracy. Although, we're in a consecutive ongoing crisis for about a year, the participation rates rather than demonstrating voter fatigue of Israeli staying at home, they're actually coming in greater and greater numbers, Israelis from all sectors.

And in this respect, we have no alienation, but rather ambition of Israelis to resolve this crisis and to move on. And it seems like we might have a different outcome than September.

ANDERSON: What does a turnout at a 20-year high suggest to you?

PLESNER: Well, first of all, Israelis are very interested in the crisis. They think that the political system is important and they think also that there's a difference. There's a real choice here.

Mr. Netanyahu has been leading the country on and off for about 20 years and at the same time, he is dealing with major legal woes.

He's going to be a defendant in court come March 17th, as the next government will be formed, and many Israelis have strong opinions about it, some very negative opinions, and some are very happy about his leadership.

So in many respects, it was again a referendum on Mr. Netanyahu's leadership.

ANDERSON: This is the third election in less than a year. What's changed since September?

PLESNER: Well, towards the September election, the main desire of most Israelis was to see a national unity government actually, a government formed by Likud and Blue and White, the two major parties, because on the main issues of economy and security, the differences are not that great.

And the assumption was that if they join together, they'll be able to lead the country in stability, but what was not expected is that Mr. Netanyahu stayed on. He took charge of his party. He won again, the primaries to continue to lead the Likud and that created the problem because Mr. Netanyahu -- Blue and White does not accept serving under Netanyahu because of his legal troubles.

ANDERSON: That I think has become very clear. What's less clear at the moment is what Israelis are actually voting on. What are the issues that count?

PLESNER: Well, number one is, the personality leadership of Mr. Netanyahu and the challenger, Mr. Benny Gantz. So we're seeing two major parties that's again a new trend, a growth of two major forces.

Number two, we're voting on actually on constitutional matters. Mr. Netanyahu is not only proposing to Israelis that he will continue to lead the country as he is going to serve as a defendant in court. His party also suggested some far reaching constitutional changes, for example, politicizing the system of appointment of judges, and so on.

Questions of religion and state, also on the agenda, surprisingly, perhaps to a non-Israeli audience, is that questions of security and the economy are not as pronounced. They're only pronounced in as much as who do you trust to lead the issues.

But there's no ideological -- major ideological divide on those issues.

ANDERSON: Israeli politics aren't easy. We look at coalition building and neither man's parties will win an outright majority tonight.

So just walk us through what is the rightwing coalition compared to what we might call a more centrist or leftwing coalition in inverted commas?

[15:05:16] PLESNER: Yes. So we basically have two major blocs. Israel's

Parliament is 120 members. So in order to build a government, you, by and large need a majority of 61, at least 61 out of 120. One bloc is the rightwing parties plus Ultra-Orthodox, that is the Likud-led coalition with one religious party and two Ultra-Orthodox parties. That's basically the rightwing and religious bloc.

And the most important factor as we look at the exit polls, is to see whether this bloc gains at least 61. If that is the case, Mr. Netanyahu is likely to form a government.

ANDERSON: Right. We're getting -- I'm being told we are beginning to get the first exit poll numbers in. Remember, these are just exit poll projections at this point. We are going to wait hours, if not days to work out exactly what is going on for Israel going forward.

Oren Liebermann is at Likud Party headquarters in Tel Aviv. What are you hearing -- Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hours if not days may well be right. There are two numbers we want to look at here. One is head to head. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party versus Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party and then the equally crucial question as Yohanan Plesner pointed out, of does either of these appear to have a clear path towards 61 seats and a governing coalition?

To the first question, who is it that had the stronger showing? All three exit polls suggest it was in fact Likud led by Benjamin Netanyahu that has pulled a lead in the exit polls over Gantz's Blue and White Party.

KAN News, the public broadcaster suggests it's a three-seat lead Likud, 36; Blue and White, 33. Channel 12 News suggests it is four- seat lead, 37 to 33. And Channel 13 News suggests it's a five-seat lead based on their exit polls, 37 to 32.

So this was the strong showing Netanyahu was looking to have to establish his party's dominance over his rival's Blue and White Party that had actually moved out a one-seat lead back in September.

This was a question of voter turnout, and we saw those voter turnout numbers up throughout the day. Netanyahu was focused on voter turnout, and it looks like the voter turnout increase we saw was very much to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's advantage.

His numbers showing a three to five seat lead in the exit polls. Of course, Becky, as we will say over and over again, these are merely projections, and we need to see if these are borne out by the actual results, which will start coming in in a few hours.

But the equally crucial question of does either of these leaders, Gantz or Netanyahu have what appears to be a straightforward path to a 61-seat governing coalition? All three polls suggest Israel may actually be in store for ongoing political deadlock in all three polls, Kan News, Channel 12 and Channel 13, the Netanyahu bloc of rightwing religious parties stands at 60. And there's a big difference in this country between 60 and 61.

It is a strong improvement according to the exit poll projections over the 55 that Netanyahu had back in September. But as Netanyahu learned in the first election that started this cycle, 60 isn't enough.

They will look at this to see if their numbers can improve. Likud often feels like they're underrepresented in both election polls and in exit polls and that's what they'll be looking, but it does mean a long night of vote counting ahead as right now the blocs stand at 60 to 60. A situation we saw play out in April that led to what feels like an endless election cycle.

Can Likud outperform these exit polls? We'll find out as first actual results start coming in in a couple of hours, and the exit polls themselves are updated.

But Becky just to wrap up, all of the exit polls project a very strong showing for Netanyahu's Likud Party somewhere between a three and a five-seat lead, largely it seems based on Netanyahu's effort to get out to vote, especially in the recent -- in the last few weeks of campaigning, he had built momentum going into the last week.

And it looks like that's what we're seeing based on these exit polls, but crucially, all three exit polls suggesting Netanyahu perhaps has not hit 61 and that's the number we're keeping an eye on as the night continues here, and we look at actual results.

ANDERSON: Sure. That's the magic number 61. Oren, thank you. A reminder then of what Oren has just told us. Here are the projections from Israel's main news channels for the two largest parties in Israel's General Election.

Kan News, Likud, 36. That is Netanyahu's party. Blue and White, Benny Gantz's party, 33.

Channel 12 News. Likud, 37. Blue and White, 33. I'll get these up on a graphic for you momentarily. Channel 13 News. Likud, 37. Blue and White, apologies I called it black and white, Blue and White, 32.

Remember, these are just exit poll projections from Israeli TV channels not from CNN. These polls have been very wide of the mark in some previous elections. So we are treating them with caution until official results come in here.

Yohanan Plesner is with me. What do you make of what we are now seeing on the screen so far as these blocs are concerned because this is crucial?

[15:10:21]

PLESNER: Well, quite clearly, you gave all the cautionary notes. I won't repeat things. And it's very important also to wait for the final results because there's a major difference between 59, 60 and 61.

Netanyahu without 61, it's a lot more difficult for him to form a government. So after having said all of that, what we are -- what we can quite confidently state is that it's a big achievement and a big success for Mr. Netanyahu. His bloc before that in September, just half a year ago was 55 seats, and now he is up by five seats to 60 and that's a major achievement. It's a very short period of time, nothing much changed.

Now, the political implications of that, assuming those numbers are pretty much correct, is that it will be next to impossible for Mr. Gantz to form a coalition. But it still does not secure Mr. Netanyahu's ability to form a coalition.

ANDERSON: You have these blocs, who would in practice, need to reach agreement in any coalition discussions, of course, and in practice, the parties may choose different partners, so even break up in any government negotiations, but these blocs do at least represent a starting point, don't they?

PLESNER: Yes, it's beyond that. I mean, because we've been in a crisis for more than a year, the blocs have identified themselves and solidified.

So there's the Netanyahu rightwing plus Ultra-Orthodox religious bloc is pretty solid and cohesive, so if those are the real numbers, 60 what they need essentially in order to vote in a government is one defector from the other side, perhaps the final outcome will be 61 and that will change.

But assuming it remains 60 or 59, Netanyahu is quite close to the finishing line because he will need one defector. He is a pretty competent politician at luring other politicians.

ANDERSON: Yisrael Beiteinu, the party of the former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and he was or -- and I want to ask you whether he is still seen as any -- as the kingmaker in any close election result. And of course, again, we have to remind our viewers, these are just projections at this point.

PLESNER: Well, if Mr. Netanyahu gets to 61 without Mr. Lieberman, then Lieberman is no longer a kingmaker if the number that now is projected, the 60 figure goes down to 59 or 58, then Mr. Lieberman again becomes kingmaker.

So there's a big difference and that's why the final results are so important.

ANDERSON: You've said that nothing much has changed. But clearly if these numbers are to be believed, and we will watch these as the evening progresses, then what has changed is that Benjamin Netanyahu has found some more support.

What would that mean? What would a Netanyahu-led government mean for Israel going forward, given that these blocs have now sort of -- a much clearer and they have coalesced, haven't they?

PLESNER: Well, it has a lot of -- assuming Mr. Netanyahu will be able to form a government, it has quite far reaching domestic implications. If you look at it from an external vantage point in terms of security

policy, policy vis-a-vis Iran, Hezbollah, the security threats, our alliances, nothing will change. I mean -- and nothing will change not only because it would be Netanyahu again. But even if it were Gantz, there isn't much of a difference.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this, because I spoke to the Jordanian Prime Minister on my way into Israel in Amman just 48 hours ago and asked him whether the Peace Treaty, the 1994 Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan was at risk. Should Benjamin Netanyahu go ahead with his election pledge to annex the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley and there is some concern, and the -- it seems the jury is out somewhat as to whether that really is at risk. Does that worry you?

PLESNER: Yes. Actually it does, and you're right about that. My assumption was, and I hope I'm right, but I might be wrong, that it was an election pledge that would not actually be fulfilled.

There were similar election pledges of Mr. Netanyahu before the 2015 election of annexes and then, the next step in order to solidify the settler and rightwing --

ANDERSON: It changed this time as there was a Donald Trump vision for peace out there, which is to all intents and purposes legitimized that campaign pledge.

[15:15:07]

PLESNER: That's true that -- so first of all, it will depend on the American administration. And secondly, Mr. Netanyahu understands the value of the peace with Jordan, the value for Israel's security, the regional value. And I think if he swears in another government, he will seriously take it into account and I don't expect any reckless behavior.

But it's true that he made very clear campaign promises to annex and in this respect, there might be a deviation of past policy.

ANDERSON: Tonight's Israeli election was the third in 11 months. That didn't stop voters from going to the polls. We are going to take a very short break. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back to Jerusalem in what is a critical light for Israel. The first exit polls show that Benjamin Netanyahu's bloc is winning the moves seats, but short of an outright majority and I'm going to remind you, these are exit poll projections from Israeli TV channels. These polls have been very wide of the mark in some previous elections. So we are treating them with caution.

But 61, as you will remember is the magic number. Turnout in the election was the highest in years. Israel Central Elections Committee said nearly 66 percent had voted as of 8:00 p.m. local time, that is the highest figure at the same point since 1999. Now we're joined by journalist, Ronen Bergman. He is a correspondent

for an Israeli daily here, a writer for "The New York Times" and author of "Rise and Kill First," and as we look at these projections, and we remind our viewers they are simply that at present. Ronen, what do you make of the numbers that we are seeing?

RONEN BERGMAN, CORRESPONDENT, YEDIOTH AHRONOTH: Well, it's clearly an achievement for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who, at the third time, is reaching almost a majority for the so-called rightwing bloc. So the Likud, the rightwing party, and ultra-religious parties forming that bloc and he is enlarging both the power of the bloc as well as the power of the Likud Party, who, unlike the previous election, is winning and has the biggest number according to these polls.

And we must say that the three polls of the three different TV channels are saying more or less the same, though we can assess that these are very close to the true election results and there is something -- two very important points.

One, the results the final results will be known only in two to three days. And because it's so dramatic, because it's so close, because it matters everything if the rightwing bloc has 60 or 61. Then nothing matters except for the final, final, final results. This is one.

And the second. And this is on a more, I would say political and social level. The fact that the rightwing bloc has almost has a majority and the Likud has something like five seats more than Blue and White, the second largest party, the opposition party means a lot about I would say that this confidence of the Israelis toward the legal system, the police, the general prosecutor, and the judges, the fact that a Prime Minister that is charged and his trial is just about to be opened in a Jerusalem District Court in few days, and charged with deep corruption in three cases.

The fact that much of the people obviously majority voted for his coalition means a lot. It means that the attacks of Benjamin Netanyahu against the legal system, against Israeli democracy have prevailed. I think there's a lot to say about the parallel lines between what is happening now in the United States with the U.S. elections and what has just happened in Israel and the votes as apparently are going to be resulted this evening.

ANDERSON: If these numbers hold up, if Benjamin Netanyahu is able to form a government going forward, what does that mean for the future of Israel domestically and on the international stage?

BERGMAN: Well, domestically, I think that the first thing that Netanyahu would do is to use that majority or the coalition that he will form if he's able to do so, and even if he doesn't have 60, I'm sure that he's already trying to convince someone from the other party, from Blue and White to defect and offering him a lot of new duties in the new government.

But I think that domestically, the first thing he would do is to legislate or to pass some new laws, some government decision that would enable the prosecution, the legal proceeding against him to be stopped or at least delayed until when he is not the Prime Minister, which is from his point of view, inevitable.

The other thing, I would say that the foreign policy of Israel would not change. Netanyahu has been the champion of doing nothing on the foreign policy. He would seemingly promote the two-state solution, but basically he knows that he would lose his base so he will do nothing. He would promote the deal of the century, the Trump plan for the Middle East, but the Palestinians will not agree. So we will be locked in the same kind of road that leads to nowhere.

And, of course, a very firm -- a very, very firm policy against Iran, that I think nowadays, if Netanyahu continues to be the Prime Minister, and with the high, high coordination with the U.S. government, the Israeli-Americans policy towards Iran is going to become even more firm, if not to say aggressive.

ANDERSON: Fascinating analysis. Ronen, thank you. Several precautions were taken across Israel to protect voters from the coronavirus outbreak. And we do know about that.

There were people who voted in what we're effectively bubbles. You've just listened to Ronen talking about where he sees Israel's future should these projections for a Netanyahu-led government come good. Your thoughts on what Ronen just said?

PLESNER: By and large, I agree. The election -- the difference was about domestic affairs, constitutional affairs. Mr. Netanyahu will try to legislate perhaps special laws to get him or relieve him from his court case. He would try to change or affect the independence of the judiciary, and so on. Those are real issues that are on the agenda.

When it comes to security policy, foreign policy, even economic policy. And this is what many Israelis why they gave him the mandate, they are pretty much content.

ANDERSON: We're beginning to see some projections from the other parties and I know you and I have looked at some projections for the joint list, which is mainly our voting party.

The plan was quickly rejected, the Trump plan, by Palestinian leaders, the deal of the century. They looked at it, at the time it was seen as a lifeline, of course to Mr. Netanyahu. Benny Gantz said he would back the plan as well.

How has that deal of the century and the rhetoric around it played into this election?

[15:25:33]

PLESNER: Well, it actually is probably the moment, the turning point in that campaign was around the introduction of the plan. Until then, the main discourse in the campaign was around Netanyahu's legal troubles, legal woes, legal issues and legal strategies.

And once the Trump plan was put on the table, it presented Netanyahu in a different way, as the Netanyahu, the Statesman, that is able to affect a plan of the U.S. President. It created a different agenda. Whether there's going to be movement forward with the Palestinians, questions of annexation.

This is a territory that is a lot more comfortable to Mr. Netanyahu, and a discussion that is a lot more conducive to his campaign needs.

ANDERSON: According to Likud, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken this evening with all the party leaders of the national bloc that we've been looking at in these projections, and they -- Likud have said, have agreed to form a strong national government for Israel soon. Briefly, your thoughts?

PLESNER: Well, this is -- it's part of a campaign. The numbers -- and Netanyahu knows that the numbers are not final yet. He's solidifying the group, the bloc, whether the bloc is 59, 60 or 61. He still needs to ensure that it's glued together. And this is what he does politically, it still doesn't have implications, but clearly, he is closer and closer to forming a government.

ANDERSON: Yohanan, it's a pleasure having you with me. Thank you very much, indeed.

PLESNER: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We'll bring you the very latest on the Israeli election results later this hour. Let's, for the time being, though, join Richard Quest who is live for you in New York -- Richard.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Becky, thank you. We will return obviously to Jerusalem and please call in as soon as there's any change in that fascinating exit poll. I don't think it looks like it's going to alter in any significant way.

In the meantime, let's look at the markets and U.S. stocks are climbing after a volatile day. I think we just saw the best of the day. Clare Sebastian, in a moment will correct me if I'm wrong.

Comments that Central Banks are prepared to act has led the way, perhaps cutting rates certainly making more cash available and the Dow's biggest point gain since December two years ago.

The rally comes despite a warning from the OECD which has lowered its global growth forecast from 2.9 to 2.4 percent. The group is urging governments to boost world economies.

Clare, what do you make of today's rally? What is today's rally all about?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Two things. So it's about the Central Banks coordinated action. The Fed led the way on Friday, followed by the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England today, but it's also about what happened last week, Richard.

The market went from a state where people were telling us it was overbought to being oversold in the face of seven sessions.

So I think they were expecting some kind of bounce back, it is value hunting as well. QUEST: On Express, Ted Weisberger who knows a thing though to said

Friday felt like capitulation by the retail investor. He said that he felt like it was the bottom.

Now this may not go back up again. It may dance around, but he said the tone is different.

SEBASTIAN: I think -- and one, you know, analysts that I spoke to said that this is sort of a process of bottoming out that we're in at the moment that we're still going to bounce around a little bit as the market tries to work out where the bottom is.

Because Richard, if you look at the circumstances around coronavirus, nothing has got better since Friday. It's still looking like it's spreading globally, more and more cases, more and more countries who are still grappling with the effect of businesses.

QUEST: Right, but If I may, there are buyers who have missed out on the rally who will see this as an opportunity. Let me just -- where's my piece of paper. I've just managed to -- I filed it somewhere proof and of course, then I lost it.

Let's just look at what we're talking about. The big winners today, Boeing up six percent. In fact, even Apple, United Healthcare Group, these are all amongst the Dow largest components.

SEBASTIAN: They are the biggest three. The top three weighted on the Dow.

QUEST: Right, and they are the ones and even if we look at the moment -- the biggest -- even the biggest gainers at the moment. They are as you say, Boeing, Chevron, Boeing, Home Depot, and they are the largest components.

SEBASTIAN: Absolutely. I mean, this, you know, people, as you say, are looking for some kind of moment where they can come back in and make some money here and I think the collective decision today has been that this is now, Richard.

Because I think if you -- it is interesting to compare the Dow with the Russell 2000, the Russell 2000, barely at one percent. That may be the level of optimism from potential Central Bank intervention rather than speculation which is obviously here.

QUEST: All right. On a busy day, normally, we'd talk much more about this, but this is a busy day. Health experts say Coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 could take longer than President Trump is willing to wait. The President is now meeting with drugmakers and he's asked them to speed up the process, in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to what is a cold night in Jerusalem with some breaking news for you. Israel's right-wing parties are claiming victory after all three main exit polls projected a bloc lead by Prime Minister Netanyahu made up of his Likud, the hardline right-wing Yamina and the two religious parties, on track, as far as these exit polls are concerned, to secure 60 seats in the 120 seats Parliament.

Now, the exit polls are giving us a look at how these seats in the Knesset may be allocated. Remember, a majority does require 61 seats. Here is how things stand at present: Likud 37 seats; Blue and White, 33; Joint List, 14, these numbers are from Channel 12 News. Some note of caution, these are exit poll projections from Israeli T.V. channels. These polls have been very wide of the mark in some of the previous elections. David Horovitz is the founding editor at The Times of Israel. And despite the fact that these are exit polls, we always say, veer on the side of caution here. Israel's right-wing parties are claiming victory at this point.

DAVID HOROVITZ, FOUNDING EDITOR, THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: And all three exit polls unusually are pretty much saying the same thing. They all give Netanyahu and his allies 60 seats in the Knesset, that that means the other guys can't stop them. Now, there can be adjustments and there can be fluctuations, but the first thing you have to say is, it appears that Netanyahu will remain as Prime Minister. He's definitely done much better than he did just a few months ago.

ANDERSON: Why?

[15:35:00]

HOROVITZ: Before the very -- I would say a campaign of desperate vigor. He goes on trial in two weeks for corruption. If he gets a majority in the Knesset, maybe he'll try to pass some kind of legislation that will fought that process. You know, he was fighting for his political career, but also, in a way, potentially, you know, for his -- for his future, you know, in a court case. We had -- we wait to see what he can do in Parliament to try to ease that process.

ANDERSON: The Israeli President has described this campaign as disgusting. That's pretty strong language.

HOROVITZ: Yeah, he said it was grubby, and he was -- he was -- he thought it was a sense of shame that Israelis had to go to vote again. Netanyahu used some pretty low tactics. He was facing a former chief of staff. He described him as mediocre. He -- his party implied that the Benny Gantz was suffering from some kind of mental disability. He tried to equate a kind of minor police inquiry into a company that Gantz once shared with his own legal problems and so on. But Gantz didn't fight terribly well back. He was very defensive. He looked less-energized. Netanyahu was the vigorous campaigner.

ANDERSON: We'll take a look at these Joint List numbers because these are mostly Arab citizens of Israel who vote for the Joint List. And the numbers are pretty good, much better than they were in April. Even better if these projections are correct than they were in September. Why? How?

HOROVITZ: The Arab public, may be some Jewish voters, as well, but broadly speaking, Israel's Arabs were mobilized increasingly in September, and it seems more so this time. A lot of them are very upset with the Trump peace plan. There's a clause in there that says it could be that some parts of Israel, largely Arab residential areas, close to the border with the West Bank, well, maybe you could remarkate (ph) to the border and they'd end up in a future Palestinian state. They really dislike that. They didn't want to be disenfranchised. And it seems that they voted in larger numbers, but the rest of the -- of the -- of the opposition to Netanyahu seems to have crumbled.

ANDERSON: But even Netanyahu gave the impression that when he went to the announcement of the deal of the century, what he wanted to bring back was annexation which was being pledged in this campaign. Almost immediately, that didn't happen. It remains a pledge to annexee (ph) Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. Is it now going to happen should he win tonight?

HOROVITZ: The path for that for him is clear. That's for sure. If he get 60, 61 seats, gets the majority, he can pretty much do what he wants. On the other hand, he's shown how central he is to the success of the right. So, if he doesn't want to, you know what, it's his Likud that seems to be dominating these results, not the pure pro-settler party Yamina. So, if he chooses to, he can go ahead and annex. If he wants to hold back a little bit. You know, if these results are borne out, he will be a much strengthened Prime Minister, he can choose what he wants to do.

ANDERSON: Will he do? And to your mind, you're a veteran of not just Israeli politics, but the man they call the Magic Man here.

HOROVITZ: I -- look, I think he'll want to do things in coordination with the Trump administration. I think that will be the key for him. He said, I'm going to annex right away, and then Jared Kushner said, Actually, no, first, there has to be a viable Israeli Government. I think he'll want to work with the Americans. He won't want to be at odds with President Trump. He'll say, Look, I'm a winner. I showed you, I came through. If these results come true. And then, he'll work in partnership with the administration, I think.

ANDERSON: What does it mean for the Jordanians, just out of interest?

HOROVITZ: Well, if it's -- it depends what happens. If Netanyahu starts annexing significant parts of the West Bank, the Jordan Valley? That will be a sensitive issue for the Jordanians.

ANDERSON: Peace treaty over? At risk?

HOROVITZ: I, as an Israeli, immensely, hope not. It will need to be handled with sensitivity.

ANDERSON: Stay with me. The Israelis went to the polls for the third time in less than a year, today. Israel's right-wing parties are now saying tonight's results broke the deadlock. We're taking a very short break. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:41:35] ANDERSON: It was a, quote, horrible, filthy election campaign. That's according to Israel's President. Well, now we are seeing how possible coalitions could take shape. Remember, a majority here in Israel requires 61 seats in the Knesset. And this is how the blocs are looking. As things stand, these are projections: KAN News, Netanyahu's bloc 60, Gantz 54. Yisrael Beiteinu six. Channel 12: 60-54-6. And Channel 13 60-52-8.

I want to remind you, these are exit poll projections from Israeli T.V. channels. These polls have been very wide of the mark in some previous elections. Dahlia Scheindlin is an international political and strategic consultant. She joins me now. You spend most of your life polling and doing focus groups. You have done that in the run-up to this election. We talked back in September and indeed in April. What we -- is what we are seeing tonight in these exit projections, reflective of what you learned during this campaign?

DAHLIA SCHEINDLIN, INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC CONSULTANT: It reflects the polling that we saw towards the very end of this campaign. What's interesting is that from September through to the end, almost the end, the polls were quite stable. Most of them had Blue and White just slightly ahead, sometimes Likud polled a little bit ahead. And it showed these blocs also very stable, very closely tied. Occasionally, either Netanyahu's right wing-block or the other one, would reach into the upper 50s. Nobody got 61 except for one poll out of like 70. So, this is a little bit unusual, but by the end, we saw the change happening for Likud.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And why, what changed right at the end?

SCHEINDLIN: Well, I think the really important question is what didn't change in the middle? Because in the middle, Netanyahu did all sorts of headline-worthy things. He went to the White House and announced the Trump plan together with President Trump. The numbers didn't move. He went to Uganda, he opened talks with Sudan, nothing moved. He did all sorts of things that didn't move the polls, but at the very end, he did a very aggressive field, get-out-to-vote campaign. What I mean by that is that he was very much in people's lives, in homes, in towns, in marketplaces.

He himself went around the country as aggressively as possible, which is his forte, he is a great campaigner. And his big message was simply get out to vote. I mean, he had campaign messages. But the big -- the big point that he was making, more than any of those other policy issues, was you didn't vote enough last time. Go out to vote this time.

ANDERSON: And we have seen voter turnout at a 20-year high. We haven't seen these numbers since 1999. That seems as if it's benefited Benjamin Netanyahu. It also looks as if it may have benefited the Joint List, which is the bloc the party, the --

SCHEINDLIN: The party coalition of four different parties.

ANDERSON: Thank you. That most Arab citizens of Israel vote for. What would -- what will tonight's result should it be as we are seeing and between these projections, meaning for the Arabs it seems (INAUDIBLE)

SCHEINDLIN: It seems that they are becoming more aware of their power to influence the Israeli political system. They were watching closely when they managed to gain three seats between April and September, from 10 seats to 13 seats, simply by higher turnout, and that was I think empowering and exciting for them. And it also was a learning moment for the leaders of the Joint List to realize that if they put more and more effort into turnout, there is a response on the part of the people.

[15:45:20]

ANDERSON: How do they live, reach that in daily politics going forward?

SCHEINDLIN: That's an open question. I mean, given the results, it looks like Netanyahu and the right-wing bloc are in much better position to form the next government, which means they probably won't have any real leverage in the negotiating process, unless something changes. But they will, as they have been, they will -- they are the third biggest party in Israel, which means they do have a sort of political cloud.

Again, if they're not going to be part of the negotiations, we're not sure what it means. If there is a unity coalition by chance, which again, looks less likely now, but if there had been a coalition between Likud and Blue and White, they would have been ahead of the opposition.

ANDERSON: Israel's right-wing is claiming victory after early exit polls showed them winning a majority in Parliament. We'll see if the results hold as votes are counted. We are taking a very short break at this point, folks. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: So, the market closes in about 12 minutes, just 11 minutes from now. And in the last few minutes, we've way above the 843. And we're now over 1000 points up on the Dow, a 4.2 percent gain. This is a case of the market buying, not wanting to be left out. And really, this very powerful number can be summed up across three or four stocks: Apple, Boeing, and United Healthcare Group. Three -- these are the three largest weighted stocks in the Dow component.

And I'm guessing if you were to translate it out, you would see that the majority of this thousand point gain is because of Apple, Boeing, and United Healthcare Group. So, they are very much the rocket that is propelled the market. And there's nothing to pull it back, really, because all of these stocks which are still up but not by as much, there's no losers. There's no serious losses at the other end of the Dow, which is why we're seeing this strong session, but we'll end up over 1,000 points at this rate.

[15:50:01]

Amy Klobuchar is suspending her campaign for U.S. president. She's expected to endorse the former Vice President Joe Biden. Senator Klobuchar struggled in recent contest in South Carolina. And Biden is now seen as the most viable moderate to take on Bernie Sanders on top of Pete Buttigieg who also quit today. So. Kyung Lah is in Denver, Colorado. I'm guessing she doesn't want to be blamed, you know, for being the spoiler at the party that lets Sanders come through the divided middle.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Well, especially, because she's been so vocal and very clear that she doesn't think Bernie Sanders should lead the ticket. It was at a democratic debate where the candidates were asked, so do you have a problem with the democratic socialist leading the Democratic ticket? And Klobuchar was the one who raised her hand. So, she has very clear opinions about Bernie Sanders and his place; it should not be the one who is the one running for president representing the Democratic Party.

What Klobuchar was trying to do is make a decision here. She had not been doing well, you're absolutely right, Richard. If you look at Nevada, she placed sixth. If you look at South Carolina, she was sixth. The people who were above her, who did better than her Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg, both of them dropped out. So, there weren't that many options for her left to take here. What we're hearing from her campaign now, I spoke with a senior advisor, who said that it became very clear that what the senator wanted to do in this moment was to unify the party, and that those hard conversations about ending the campaign, substantive conversations started with her campaign manager yesterday morning, here in the United States.

And those conversations were whether or not she had any options. And so, her option there was to unite the party. This is something she had thought about according to the senior advisor in between Nevada and South Carolina, when she had not done well in Nevada and then didn't do so well in South Carolina. All of that was very clear. The advisor saying that what she is doing now is she looked at that map. And when she looked at it, she saw that she could pick up some delegates in Minnesota, or she could work on trying to back the person who appeared to be most likely to lead the moderates, which is Joe Biden at this stage, according to the campaign.

She is on her way to Dallas. Joe Biden is having an event there, and she will stand next to him. Instead of delivering a straight concession speech, what she will do is endorse the Vice President. She will hit the campaign trail with the Vice President and immediately start to work on getting him the enough delegates to cross the line and become the Democratic nominee. All of this happening in rapid fire in these last few hours.

QUEST: Thank you very much. Now, we're very nearly at the end of the (INAUDIBLE) but the Dow had stormed ahead. Now up 1100 points, a gain of 4-1/3 percent. And you can see the reasons why. It is Walmart, it's Apple, it's United Healthcare Group, and in there, as well, it is Boeing, Microsoft also having a strong day. It's reversing the losses. We'll have more after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ANDERSON: Welcome back to Jerusalem in what is a critical night.

Israel's right-wing parties are claiming victory, and Benjamin Netanyahu has just tweeted with a heart emoji. We are seeing how possible coalitions could take shape. Remember, a majority requires 61 seats in the Knesset, the Netanyahu bloc is projected to have 60 seats, the Gantz bloc 54, and Yisrael Beiteinu, six. These are from Channel 12 News.

I'm going to remind you once again, these are exit poll projections from Israeli T.V. channels and these polls have been, in the past, very wide of the mark. Orit Farkash-Hacohen is at the Blue and White headquarters. She is a member of the Knesset. What do you make of what we are seeing and hearing tonight?

ORIT FARKASH-HACOHEN, MEMBER OF THE ISRAEL KNESSET, BLUE & WHITE PARTY: It's yet another dramatic evening in Israeli politic and public life. We are in the Blue and White and, of course, disappointed with the result. Although, the Blue and White Party has maintained its force of the 33 seats, according to the exit polls, unfortunately, you know, on our respect, the Likud Party didn't -- did get larger. It is still -- the business is still unfinished, because it is not really results. We will wait and see the final results in the next following days.

But you have to understand that, still, Benjamin Netanyahu at the moment, according to the exit poll, doesn't have the, you know, the 61 seats he needs or the votes he needs in order to establish a government. I just want to remind you that the first elections, not this one, but the one before that, he had, again, reached a number of 60 seats in the Parliament, which were not enough for him to consist the government.

ANDERSON: He'll need a defection. Will he get it, briefly?

FARKASH-HACOHEN: Sorry?

ANDERSON: He will need somebody to defect to get him over the line. Will you get that, briefly?

FARKASH-HACOHEN: I don't think he will get it from the Blue and White Party. You know, we've got many of our party members got many, many offers, but we are united and we're together behind the Benjamin Gantz in the Blue and White Party. We believe in our values and integrity and leadership, and we will continue to do so.

ANDERSON: Thank you. That's the situation here in Israel. Let's get you back to Richard Quest for a final check of these all-important stock markets. Richard?

QUEST: Becky, you have an exciting evening in Jerusalem breaking news from your story. I've got an exciting evening here, 1255. We're nearly five percent up for the Dow Jones Industrials, just on the day. If you look at the 30, there are really three reasons. Apple is up 8-1/3 percent today which is extraordinary. The three big -- three big Dow gain is Apple, United Healthcare, Boeing, are all up around about five percent. That's what's propelling the market up. To be absolutely honest, there's no real justification. People thought the market was overbought a few days ago, a few weeks ago. Now, they think the market is oversold and that's the selling and that's the buying that is propelling it. Tops, best point of the day might even see -- might even see 1300 as the closing bell is rung, I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable. That Dow looks like it is going to be up -- they are five percent, which at its record of the day. Let's see how it all goes over the next few hours today.