Former Fin Tech Exec Leads an Israeli Opposition Party

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A former financial technology entrepreneur turned Israeli politician hoped to lead his party to a strong showing in Tuesday's parliamentary elections.

Naftali Bennett, a co-founder of security firm Cyota who sold the company to RSA for $145 million in 2005, led a field of roughly 20 hopefuls for the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, who ran as members of the Jewish Home party.

Bennett, an American-born former Israeli Army commando and a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was elected in November to head Jewish Home, which promises "to restore the Jewish-Zionist essence to the State of Israel and its people," according to the group's website.

According to Bennett, who generally advocates a hard line in his country's relations with its Palestinian neighbors, Israel should annex most of the disputed territories that surround the country while Palestinians who live in them should give up their hopes for an independent state.

"There are certain things that most of us understand will never happen: 'The Sopranos' are not coming back for another season …and there will never be a peace plan with the Palestinians," Bennett told The New Yorker recently.

Roughly 5.7 million Israelis were expected to vote Tuesday at local polling places, which remained open in most cities until 10:00 p.m. local time (3 p.m. Eastern time). Though Netanyahu was expected to win a third term, his party stood to lose seats at Jewish Home's expense.

For his part, Bennett spent Election Day urging supporters to head to the polls. "Everyone should go [and] vote," Bennett wrote Tuesday on his Facebook page. "Every vote counts!"

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