Israel’s Lapid says his party close to victory

JERUSALEM (AP) — Popular centrist politician Yair Lapid has cast his ballot in Israel’s elections for his Blue and White party, appealing on Israeli citizens to vote. Lapid had joined forces with former army chief Benny Gantz to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long rule.

Lapid voted near Tel Aviv on Tuesday surrounded by activists and supporters, claiming his party is “just a step away from victory.”

He says: “We need two more seats to win these historic elections in Israel. A vote for any party except Blue and White is a vote for Netanyahu.”

Lapid and Gantz, together with a slate of other ex-generals, formed the centrist Blue and White party in hopes of mobilizing opposition to Netanyahu, who faces serious corruption charges.