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November 13, 2022 2:07 pm
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Netanyahu Promises to Serve All Israelis ‘Without Exception’

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Benjamin Netanyahu (left) officially receives the mandate to form Israel’s next government from President Isaac Herzog. Photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Benjamin Netanyahu was officially granted the mandate on Sunday to form Israel’s next government and vowed to be Prime Minister of all Israelis.

“I intend to be the prime minister of all,” he said Sunday. “Of those who elected me, and of those who did not elect me. We are brothers and we are meant to live side by side.”

The Likud party leader formally received the mandate from President Isaac Herzog who remarked that 64 members of Israel’s parliament recommended Netanyahu as the candidate with the greatest chance to form the country’s next coalition government.

Netanyahu was the frontrunner to be tasked with forming a governing coalition as the Likud emerged as the largest party in parliament with 32 seats after Israel held national elections on Nov. 1, clearing the way for the longest-serving premier, to return to power backed by far-right parties.

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“The State of Israel requires a government that even if its composition does not reflect all worldviews and sections of the legislature, nevertheless knows to lead a process of connection and unification— between all parts of our people —and to conduct a responsible, cautious, open, frank, and attentive dialogue with the other branches of government,” Herzog said. “Every government must behave with immense caution on matters of fateful importance for our existence, for the defense of our security, and for the preservation of our most fundamental contours as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Netanyahu, who thanked all 64 Knesset members for supporting him now has 28 days to build a governing coalition.

The prospect of a newly-formed government led by Netanyahu in alliance with ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism party, including the Otzma Yehudit party headed by far-right Itamar Ben-Gvir, is slated to be the most right-wing in the country’s history which has already drawn some concern in Israel and abroad.

In recent weeks, the US administration has raised  concern at the potential inclusion of Ben-Gvir in a future Netanyahu-led government. Ben-Gvir, who has been advocating for the Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank and an overhaul of core elements of Israel’s judicial system, has said he will demand to be appointed as public security minister responsible for the police.

“There are many who welcome the elections results: but there are also those who utter prophecies of doomsday and frighten the public,” Netanyahu remarked. “This is not the first time such things have been said. They said it about [former prime minister Menachem] Begin, they said it about me too; it was not true then and it is not true today,” he emphasized.

Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which was defeated by Netanyahu’s Likud called the mandate a “black day for Israel’s democracy, in which the prime minister-designate was extorted by his partners, whose whole goal is to rescue him from his trial and bring Israel backward.”

“We will never give up on the country, on its liberal values and we will not allow our children’s future to be harmed – we will fight united in the Knesset, in the town squares, and on the bridges until we replace the government of destruction with the government of change,” Yesh Atid said in a statement.

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