(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Based on the official Israeli election results and his consultations with political party leaders, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday granted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the mandate to form the country’s next government. Netanyahu now has 28 days to do so, with the potential for Rivlin to give him a 14-day extension.
“Three critical missions lie before the incoming government and Knesset—the coalition and the opposition alike,” Rivlin said. “The first is the issue of the relationship between Israel and the United States, the most important of our allies. The second is to return stability to the political system, and the rebuilding of public confidence in it. We must not go back to elections in another two years. And the third is healing the wounds, mending the painful rifts, which have gaped open in the past years, and widened further in the course of this recent election.”
Netanyahu recently apologized for election-day remarks in which he expressed concern about high Arab voter turnout. The prime minister said Wednesday, “I accept upon myself, with a deep sense of responsibility, the task of forming the government, which has been bestowed upon me. I am moved and aware of the magnitude of this responsibility. I view myself as prime minister of each and every citizen of Israel. I will act to mend the rifts which have opened up between different segments of society during the election. We must put the election behind us, and focus on that which we have in common. This is the way of a Jewish, democratic state, which maintains the rights of its citizens regardless of their faith, race or sex. So it has always been, and so it always will be.”