President Shimon Peres welcomed on Monday evening the members of Israel’s newly sworn government for the traditional photograph at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
"I am pleased to host the 33rd Government of the State of Israel here at the President's Residence,” Peres said.
“It is a government that has both veteran members and new faces, a government that has those with experience in government work and abilities in other, varied fields. It is a government which will provide a fresh breeze.
“Before you – members of the 33rd government – stand complex challenges in the fields of security, economy and social issues,” said Peres. “Most of all we must stand strong in face of the Iranian threat and make the utmost effort to move forward with negotiations for peace with the Palestinians.
“The responsibility on your shoulders, primarily on the Prime Minister, but on the whole government, on each and every one of you is great and the entire nation is watching you. I am confident that you will be attentive to the needs of the people and will respond to their wishes, all of this with loyalty to the authority which has been bestowed upon you,” he said.
“As the President of the State of Israel, I am at your service. Good luck.”
Earlier Monday, the Knesset approved the establishment of the government, with 68 MKs in favor and 48 against. Four MKs were either absent or abstained.
The 68 MKs are the full number of members in the plenum from Likud/Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi, Yesh Atid, and Hatnua. After the vote was passed, the new cabinet ministers were sworn in to their positions.
After the swearing in ceremony, the new government met for its first meeting, during which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "Of all the three terms for which I was elected to lead the State of Israel, I cannot remember a more challenging one in terms of the risks on one hand and the opportunities and the expectations of the citizens of Israel on the other hand."
"We can meet all challenges without exception,” said Netanyahu, “and we are cleaning the table, putting the differences aside and working together. There are great people here, both experienced and new, and we can work together only with cooperation and unity.”