Netanyahu tasked with forming new govt, vows to be PM for ‘all citizens’ of Israel

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Former Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on Sunday (November 13) formally handed the mandate to form a new government. He pledged that he would seek national consensus. Netanyahu is back in power corridors after an election that saw Jewish far-rightists surging. This has caused worry at home and abroad.

Tasking Netanyahu, already Israel’s longest-serving premier, with forming the next coalition government, President Isaac Herzog noted that the Likud leader had received enough recommendations from like-minded parties to secure majority with 64 of parliament’s 120 seats.

Netanyahu is now on a path to form one of the most stable governments in years after being away from the top post for 18 months during which a rare but fragile alliance of centrist, liberal, nationalist and Arab politicians came to power.

Netanyahu said, “The people made a clear decision in favor of forming a government headed by me,” and vowed to form a stable, successful, responsible and dedicated government that would serve all of Israel’s residents, without exception. The remarks were televised.

“There are many, many who welcome the election results, but there are also those who make outrageous prophecies and frighten the public. This is not the first time such things have been said. They said it about (Likud’s first leader Menachem) Begin, they said it about me too; it wasn’t true then and it’s not true today either,” Netanyahu said.

“I intend to be a prime minister for everyone, for those who elected me, and for those who did not elect me. It reflects what I believe in and what guides my actions,” he added while also thanking all the 64 members of the Knesset who recommended him.

The incoming government looks to be the most right-wing in Israel’s history, with the ultranationalist Religious Zionism party whose leaders oppose Palestinian statehood, want the occupied West Bank annexed and were anti-LGBT in the past.

One of them, Itamar Ben-Gvir, was convicted in 2007 of racist incitement against Arabs and support for terrorism. He says he is now reformed but still calls for harsh crackdowns against those he deems terrorists or traitors.

With inputs from agencies)

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