Government being presented at president's residence
Government being presented at president's residence Screenshot

Ministers from Israel's recently-formed coalition government met at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem Tuesday, for the traditional photo-op with President Reuven Rivlin.

Speaking at the gathering, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated that the first challenge of the 34th Israeli government would be "to ensure the security of Israel in the face of accumulating threats around us" - particularly against the threat of radical Islam.

"Radical Islam is lapping at all our borders, nearly all in the form of factions and forces led by Iran and other radical elements," Netanyahu began. "At the same time, aided by the agreement proposed to it, Iran is making progress in achieving a nuclear weapon. 

But, he emphasized: "All the enemies of Israel know that in the face of these threats, we have red lines."

"Until today, Mr. President, we have been successful in excluding Israel from the turmoil and atrocities affecting the region. We will continue to guard the security of Israel."

​However, echoing comments he made last week, Netanyahu also highlighted the new alliances Israel has been forging as a result of the regional upheaval. In particular, Israel has aligned closely with Sunni Arab Gulf states against the threat of Iran, and has shored-up ties with both Egypt and Jordan in the face of threats from Islamist terrorist groups threatening those countries' stability.

"The threats in the region also create opportunities," he said. "Many states around us have common interests with us, they see eye to eye with us on the dangers, and they see Israel as central partner in fending them off.

"We will make every effort to translate this cooperation into processes for stability and peace, including attempts to reach a responsible political settlement with the Palestinians, which will safeguard Israel's essential interests."

Netanyahu also vowed to maintain Israel's close relationship with the United States, despite the hostility between his previous government and the White House, and on the domestic front promised to address the cost of living crisis.

"We will continue to promote deeper ties with the US Administration and the American people. Even at times of disagreements, this bond is stronger than any difference of opinion.

"Mr. President, the welfare of the citizens of Israel is our top priority. We will work to reduce the cost of living, and the cost of housing.  Already today, at the cabinet meeting  which took place at the Israel Museum this morning, we made decisions aimed at these goals.

"Above all else," the prime minister continued, "we are committed to our heritage.

"The people of Israel returned to the Land of Israel and established in it the State of Israel - a Jewish and democratic state. A state of the rule of law that respects every person as they are.

"I am proud to be the Prime Minister of Israel, and I will do all in my power, together with my ministers, to honor the mandate we have been given by the citizens of Israel. There is nothing more valuable than that."