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April 9, 2019 7:10 pm

Gantz Addresses Supporters, Says He Will Form Next Government With ‘Great Love and Devotion’ for All Sectors of Israeli Society

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Benny Gantz, head of Israel’s Blue and White party, smiles as he delivers a speech following the announcement of exit polls in Israel’s parliamentary election at his party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel April 10, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Corinna Kern.

With Israel’s election results still unclear, Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz delivered a triumphant speech to his jubilant supporters on Tuesday night, saying he will form the next government with “great love and devotion” for all sectors of society.

The major exit polls have shown variant but close results for Gantz and his opponent, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One poll showed Gantz leading by several seats, but two others showed a statistical tie and an advantage for the right-wing bloc of parties that will likely support Netanyahu.

“More than a million people chose Blue and White today,” Gantz said from the rostrum, according to Hebrew news site Mako. “Our people and our society chose to come together and unite, to escape from division and embrace cooperation.”

Gantz expressed gratitude to Netanyahu for his public service, but emphasized that the prime minister had lost the election. “In elections there are winners and losers,” he said and called for all contenders “to respect the will of the voter, and the largest party must be the one to receive a mandate from the president to form the government.”

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“We might be new and innocent,” Gantz said of his party, “we understand that we must wait for the final results, but we will form the next government.”

“They said not to enter politics — we entered,” he continued. “They said we will not come together — we united. They said we wouldn’t win — we won.”

“My friends, we won and will continue to win,” Gantz told his supporters, “but I’ll tell you how — not just according to size, but according to our direction. Because the direction will be, before anything else, that of respect for all, for the past, for the present, and for the mutual construction of the future.”

“We must remember to change the discourse, exactly as we were careful to do in the elections, to maintain a respectful conversation going forward,” he added.

“We intend to bring everyone together … and to see how we unite and not how we fight,” Gantz said. “I will be the prime minister of everyone, and not just those who voted for me. No one needs to worry today. We should think only of what is our common denominator, where we can come together on a basis of mutual understanding, and the desire to create something positive here.”

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