President Shimon Peres officially tasked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with assembling the next coalition, in a ceremony at the Presidential Residence Saturday evening.
"The representatives of 82 members of the 18th Knesset recommended to me that I task MK Binyamin Netanyahu, the serving prime minister, with the establishment of the government," Peres said.
"I have weighed the matter and decided to task Binyamin Netanyahu with putting together the coalition, after receiving his consent, as required by law," he added.
"The representatives of the different lists raised important issues before me, and asked that they be taken into account in the process of assembling the government. Among them were the budget deficit, social justice, the struggle against discrimination, equality in sharing the burden (an Israeli expression alluding to IDF and national service – ed.) enlistment to the IDF, renewing the diplomatic negotiations in order to achieve peace and the means of dealing with the existential threats facing Israel.
"I will transfer these matters to the attention of the candidate for assembling the government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"I hope that the task is completed quickly. The state of Israel needs diplomatic and economic stability so that it can take the necessary decisions in the serious matters that are on our agenda."
Peres did not mention the need to avoid a schism in the nation over the issue of military service by hareidi men, despite receiving a heartfelt plea from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on the matter.