The final tally after vote counting ended on Thursday. It showed that Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party had won 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, while the Zionist Union was left with 24.
The Joint (Arab) List won an unprecedented 13 seats, and the Meretz party won five seats, ensuring its chief Zehava Gal-On did not quit.
The 20th Knesset elections saw a 72.3 % voter turnout, Israel's Central Election Committee said.
12.37 pm (IST): Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog conceded defeat to Benjamin Netanyahu, and wished him over the telephone.
Herzog and his co-leader Tzipi Livni also released a statement as polls predicted a big win for Netanyahu's Likud Party, according to The Jerusalem Post.
"This morning has not been any easy one for us or our followers. We will lead and fight together with our partners to the Knesset with the values we believe in. We will fight for the Israeli citizens for social justice, diplomatic prospects, equality and democracy with hope and belief, in order to have a Jewish and democratic country, just and safe. We would like to thank everyone who believed in us, with all of our hearts."
10.15 am (IST): 99 percent of the votes are said to have been counted, putting Likud in a stark lead with 30 seats in the Knesset, and the Zionist Union at 24.
The Joint List, an Arab coalition, is set to emerge as the third-largest party in the Knesset for the first time in history, with 14 seats.
9.15 am (IST): As 70% of the votes have been counted, Likud is leading with 23.73% of the votes, according to Israel's Central Elections Committee, while the Zionist Union, that was expected to storm into the Knesset with maximum seats, is trailing at 19.06%.
8.35 am (IST): As exit polls showed that Netanyahu may well continue as Israeli's prime minister for a third consecutive term, the right-wing politician promised citizens that he would work to lower the cost of living and housing prices, issues that his party had ignored before the polls and which had given the Zionist Union more momentum.
We will lower housing prices & the cost of living. #Israelelex
— בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) March 17, 2015
8.25 am (IST): In an unexpected turn of events, Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party has taken a dramatic lead over rival Zionist Union, negating all opinion polls thus far about its impending loss.
According to the official tally till 4.30 am local time, Likud is expected to win at least 30 seats, while the Zionist Union may bag only 24, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Against all odds:a great victory for the Likud. A major victory for the people of Israel!
— בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) March 17, 2015
This is a great victory for our nation. I'm proud of people of Israel who in the moment of truth knew what was important. — בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) March 17, 2015
The first exit poll results will start from 10pm,after the polling stations are close down. The Israel elections results are expected to emerge as the Knesset committee finishes counting the votes by Wednesday morning.
While incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud is vying for the role for a fourth term, the Israel elections this year will be a close call.
Analysts but predict that the real drama will begin after the Israel elections results 2015 are announced. In the coming days several smaller parties will be swaying back and forth to influence the decision to select the next Prime Minister of Israel
In the meantime, the French dailies have already predicted Nitanyahu's defeat.
Libération, in its article carried the headline: "Bye Bye Bibi?" and went on to describe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "weakened."
The conservative-leaning paper Le Figaro in rather softer tone stated: "The Israeli Left wants to put an end to the Netanyahu era."
While the mainstream newspaper Le Monde devoted the entire front page to the Israeli elections with the headline: "Netanyahu worn down by the exercise of power."
8.00 pm (IST) Netanyahu to Make a Statement
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called a special press conference to make a public statement around 5:45 pm local time. As per the Election Campaign laws in Israel, candidates generally are banned from open campaigning on Election Day.
7.25 pm (IST): Voter turnout as of 4:00pm Israel Time stands at 45.4%
For the Israel Elections 2015, 45.4% voters had participating in the polling by 4pm Israel Time. It should be noted that the figure was 46.6% at this time during the 2013 elections.
7.15 pm (IST): Israel Election polling will continue for another five hours and the first exit polls that will give a hint on the Israel election results 2015 will start from 10 pm.
7.05 pm (IST): Far-right Yisrael Beiteinu leader, Avigdor Lieberman, urges voters to support them to protect Israel from Isis and Al Qaeda.
7.00 pm (IST): Petitions Filed Against 'Vote Shas and Go to Heaven' Campaign
Several petitions have been filed against the Shas party Tuesday, for violating a host of bans on religious imagery and promises of "blessings" for voters in its advertisement campaign for the 20th Knesset elections.
Eli Yishai's Yachad-Ha'am Itanu party filed an urgent petition with the Justice Salim Jubran,Chaiman of Central Elections Committee Chairman, demanding that Shas face penalties for using images of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yitzhak Yosef, in its advertisement campaign, reported Israel National News.
Good-to-know Israel Election Live Updates Fact for St Patricks Day - Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog, grandfather of leading labor candidate Isaac Herzog, was Chief Rabbi of Ireland. via @alexjgoldstein
6.50 pm (IST): Netanyahu Crossed the line says Dov Khenin, No. 3 in the Jewish-Arab Hadash Party over 'Arab' comment
Israeli political-scientist, Dov Boris Khenin - who is a Jewish Israeli Communist running for election under an Arab banner - has appealed to the Central Election Committee to remove the Likud campaign in which Netanyahu made alarmist statement on Arab voters.
"A prime minister who campaigns against voting by citizens belonging to an ethnic minority is crossing a red line of incitement and racism. This is especially severe on Election Day, when the message to Israeli citizens is to participate in the elections, vote, and take part in the democratic system. A statement like that, issued by the prime minister, shows that he has completely lost his way and that he is ready to break all the principles of democracy to safeguard his regime," he said reported Haaretz.
6.35 pm (IST): Shelly Yachimovich, No. 2 on the Zionist Union list, slams Netanyahu
Zionist Union's Shelly Yachimovich has severely critised Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on his comments on Arab voters.
Speaking to the supporters on Facebook Yachimovich said: "No Western leader would dare utter such a racist comment. Imagine a prime minister/president in any democracy who would warn that his rule is in jeopardy because, e.g., 'Black voters are coming in droves to the polling stations'... Horrendous, isn't it? In any case, I think what worries Bibi is that Israeli citizens are moving in droves to the ballots, and quite simply want to democratically topple him."
6.25 pm (IST): Netanyahu ''Arabs voting in droves'' comment becomes a meme on social media
Israeli Prime Minister after he warned voters of "Arabs are voting in droves" through a video uploaded to his Facebook page has sparking outrage. In the video he appealed to right-wing supporters to vote Likud, in order to close the gap between them and Labor.
Soon Netanyahu and his "Arabs voting in droves" comment turned into a meme on social media. Many social media even called on Facebook to ban the video for being racist in nature.
6.20 pm (IST): Feel like we're going to make it- Tzipi Livni
Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, heads of the Zionist Union, have been touring polling stations across Israel since Tuesday morning.
"I really feel that we're going to make it, I see that people are not just saying good luck to me out of politeness, they hold me and actually pray," Livni told Haaretz.
6.00 pm (IST): Voter turnout as of 2:00pm Israel Time stands at 36.7%
According to the Central Election Committee,which updates the voter turnout every two hours on Election Day, 36.7% of Israelis cast their ballots by 2pm, which is a 1.6% drop from 2013 (38.3%).
The highest final turnout since 1973 has been 79.7%, in 1988. The lowest turnout was in 2001, 62.3%.
5.50 pm (IST): Senior Likud Leader's Grandfather dies after Casting Vote
The 90-year-old grandfather of senior Likud MK Ze'ev Elkin died on Tuesday while leaving a Jerusalem polling station, according The Times of Israel.
The elderly man reportedly collapsed and hit his head while leaving the polling booth after casting his vote in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood in the capital. Elkin, number eight on the Likud slate, is a former deputy foreign minister and chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Social media reports claim that the police are investigating charges of polling fraud from Umm-al-Fahm, located 20 kilometers northwest of Jenin in the Haifa District of Israel with a population of 48,500 and nearly all of whom are Arab citizens of Israel.
According to The Times of Israel,the head of the Umm al-Fahem polling station committee was detained after the secretary at the station allegedly saw him inserting envelopes into the ballot box illegally.
5.20 pm (IST): Is Hung government a possibility?
According to Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, the elections results could very well be "a narrow Netanyahu-led right-wing government, a Herzog government of the left, center and the Ultra-Orthodox, and a national unity government of both the Netanyahu's Likud and Herzog's Zionist Union." Finding a clear winner could be a hard task.
5.05 pm (IST): Arab Leader asks Bibi to Relax
Ta'al Party chairman MK Ahmed Tibi, fourth on the Joint (Arab) List, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "can relax."
"Herzog or Bibi [Netanyahu's nickname] will not choose what positions we will have in the next Knesset, it depends on the voters and the number of mandates the Joint List gets," said Tibi.
4.55 pm (IST): Even if Likud forms government, Netanyahu era is over -report
4.45 pm (IST): Haaretz reports voter turnout now higher than previous two elections
Following reports of low voter turnout just a couple of hours ago, 13.7% voters have now cast their ballot. This is 20% more than at this time in the two previous elections. Only 7.8% of eligible voters voted in the first three hours of the elections, The Times of Israel had reported.
4.30 pm (IST): Likud upset about high voter turnout in Arab community.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently posted a video to his Facebook page in which he says "The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are going out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are bussing them out. We have no V15, we have Order 8 [code for emergency call up to IDF reserve duty], we have only you. Get out to vote, bring your friends and family, vote Likud in order to close the gap between us and 'Labor.'
4.15 pm (IST): Voter turnout as of 12:00 noon,(Israel Time) was 26.5% the Central Elections Committee reported
4.00 pm (IST): Google doodles Israel's elections
— Joëlle Weil (@JoelleWeil) March 17, 2015
3.15 pm (IST): Voter turnout in the first two hours of voting on Tuesday was low at 7.4%, according to Israel's Central Elections Committee.
According to some Israeli reporters, the turnout rose to 13.7% in the next hour, said to be the highest in the first three hours since 1999 elections.
3.00 pm (IST):
VIDEO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu votes in Israeli election http://t.co/pOFfcz8EWs
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 17, 2015
2.30 pm (IST): Netanyahu's Likud party had been slapped with a fine of 20,000 Likud NIS for allegedly forging a recording that showed Moshe Kahlon, leader of the Kulanu party, pledging his support to Netanyahu, which was shared with voters on Monday.
"It is sad that the Likud party, in a moment of desperation, chooses to deceive the public," the party said, according to The Jerusalem Post.
12.50 pm (IST): Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog has cast his vote, and urged Israelis to not vote for Bibi
"Whoever wants despair and disappointment should vote for Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] but those who want hope and change should vote for me," Herzog reportedly said.
— Zionist Union (@ZionistUnion) March 17, 2015
11.10 am (IST): As voting began for the 20th Knesset elections in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly pledged to extend an early invite to Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party, to form a coalition , through a Facebook post.
He also reiterated that he will not join hands with the Zionist Union, according to The Jerusalem Post. He also promised to form a nationalist government if voted to power.
10.50 am (IST): Voter turnout has not reached 70% since the 1999 elections, when the turnout was as high as 80%. However, this time the turnout is expected to be higher given the close race.
10.30 am (IST): Polling booths in Israel have opened to voters at 7 am local time, and voting will go on through the day up to 10 pm.
Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party is set to be challenged by the Zionist Union.
It's 7am in Israel. The polls are now open -- what a dramatic day ahead. Will be Tweeting updates throughout. Please keep praying.
— Joel C. Rosenberg (@JoelCRosenberg) March 17, 2015
10.00 am (IST): Livni ready to give up shot at becoming Prime Minister
Tzipi Livni, who has paired with Isaac Herzog to lead the Zionist Union, has said she is ready to give up her shot at becoming the prime minister on the basis of a two-year rotation agreement with Herzog if the coalition forms the next government.
Livni joined forces of her centrist Hatnua party with Herzog's leftist Labour party to form the Zionist Union, on a rotation agreement that was to see each take the office as prime minister for two years.
However, ahead of the polls, Livni said she is prepared to give up the agreement if it hurts the coalition process.
9.00 am (IST): Polling will continue till 10 pm (local time) on Tuesday, and the results will be out on Wednesday.
The first exit polls will be analyzed by Voice of Israel at 10pm local time (4pm ET/ 8 pm in UK). The coverage will continue on Wednesday till 1pm local time (7am ET/ 11 am in UK).
8.30 am (IST): 5.8 million Israelis are registered to vote across 10,000 polling stations on Tuesday.
Lakhs of Israelis will step out today to cast their votes for the 20th parliamentary elections, which are expected to bring in a new government on Wednesday for four years.
The latest opinion polls put the centrist Zionist Union ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, while the Join Arab List is expected to put up an unprecedented performance for any Arab coalition.
Israelis are expected to vote on the basis of socio-economic factors instead of the national security issue, as issues of cost of living and affordable housing have become paramount in the country.
A party will need to pool in at least 3.25% of the votes to enter the Knesset with four seats, as the cut-off mark was raised from the requisite 2% of the votes in the last elections.
the Central Election Committee to remove the Likud campaign