President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday evening entrusted MK and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the task of forming the next government. Earlier, the president signed the letter of appointment that entrusts Benjamin Netanyahu with the task of forming the government, as stipulated in Basic Law: The Government (2001).
Once the president has entrusted a Knesset member with the task of forming a government, that candidate has 28 days to do so, according to Basic Law: The Government (2001). If required, the president is authorized to grant an extension of up to 14 additional days to the candidate.
“In democracy, the majority decides. In these elections, the majority spoke," Rivlin said. "After consultations with the Chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Deputy Supreme Court President Melcer, I began consultations with representatives of the parties even before the publication of the official and final results. We certainly took into account the possibility that there would be changes in the allocation of seats, but the overall picture is clear. After speaking representatives of all the parties elected to the Knesset, which were for the first time open and transparent to the public, I hereby declare that 65 members of Knesset recommended that Prime Minister and Member of the Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu be the person entrusted with forming the government."
"Sir, today you receive the letter of appointment to form the government. For the fifth time, you have secured the support of this dear people who lives on its own land. You have the responsibility to form a government at a time when it and the incoming Knesset face weighty responsibilities, coalition and opposition together. Strengthening and developing Israel’s security and diplomatic standing in the face of challenges on different fronts, and also in light of the opportunities we may face. In addition, narrowing and closing the gaps in our society. The strength of our economy and our society is the key to our strength in security and diplomacy. Only an Israel that is strong from within projects strength outwards. And also, healing the wounds and fissures that have opened between us. This was a tough election campaign. Things were said that should not have been said, from all sides. Not in a democratic state and not in the Jewish state. The iron wall should be between us and our enemies, not inside our own home, not between us. 'Us and them' is over. From now on, it's just 'us'.
"Now is the time to stop fighting 'them' and to start fighting to regain belief in 'us'. To fight for our home, a place where secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox, Jews and Arabs, left and right can find their place - as equal partners. All parties in the Knesset are responsible for this, and you above all, Mr Prime Minister, bear this responsibility
"Unfortunately, this Knesset will have far fewer women than the previous Knesset. We have lost vital women’s representation in the Knesset and the government. I hope that the new Knesset and government will include women ministers and committee chairs, and ensure that the voice of women is present and clearly heard, on the issues themselves and as a message to the public.
"On a personal note, I was deeply touched by the wishes and prayers from representatives of all parties for the recovery of Nechama, my wife. Their words came from the heart and touched my heart,, as did the sense of unity across the political spectrum of concern for her health and hopes for her recovery
"My fellow citizens, together with the whole Israeli people, I pray for the success and flourishing of the State of Israel and of Israeli society.
"Let me also take this opportunity to wish all Israel a happy and kosher Pesach. I would like to send a special blessing to those in public service who deal with the needs of us all faithfully, and to the members of the security forces across all the various organizations and bodies who are on guard day and night, hour by hour. Happy Pesach! God bless you all," President Rivlin concluded.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "This is the fifth time that I have accepted the task of establishing the Israeli government. There is no greater privilege in democratic life, and I am as excited as I was the first time and, in a certain way, much more than the first time."
"I am well aware of the magnitude of the responsibility placed on my shoulders and will act as the emissary of the people with all its parts - those who chose me and those who did not choose me," Netanyahu added.