President Reuven Rivlin received the official results of the election for the 20th Knesset, from Central Elections Committee Chairman, Justice Salim Joubran.
President Rivlin: "We were fortunate to see a higher voter turnout than the last election. A high voter turnout is the realization of democracy...
Having completed my consultations with the parties already this week, it is my intention to award this evening, the task of forming the coalition to the candidate who received the recommendations of most of the Members of Knesset - more than sixty-one MKs. That candidate will receive the first opportunity, to form a coalition."
Justice Joubran: "The voter turnout at this election rose significantly on the last election, and indeed is the highest over many decades, reaching 72.4 percent. As high as the turnout reaches, the more representative and inclusive of a range of opinions, the 20th Knesset will be. For this the Central Elections Committee is very proud."
President Reuven Rivlin appointed outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu MK, with the task of forming the 34th Government of Israel, at a ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem. The President signed the official letter of appointment in his office with Prime Minister Netanyahu, before going on to make public statements.
President Rivlin: "In democracy, majority rules, and the majority has made its voice heard clearly in this election. The role of the President in the election is to serve as a trustee of the public. Having consulted with representatives of all the elected parties, I hereby announce that more than 61 Members of Knesset, have recommended the outgoing Prime Minister, Member of Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu, as the chosen candidate for the task of forming a government...
Three critical missions lie before the incoming government and Knesset - the coalition and the opposition alike. The first is the issue of the relationship between Israel and the United States, the most important of our allies. The second is to return stability to the political system, and the rebuilding of public confidence in it. We must not go back to elections in another two years. And the third is healing the wounds, mending the painful rifts, which have gaped open in the past years, and widened further in the course of this recent election."
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded: "It is with a deep sense of responsibility that I accept from you the task of forming a government. I must tell you that I am as moved as if this was the first time and I am well aware of the magnitude of the responsibility placed upon me.
Citizens of Israel, I would like to thank you for the trust that you have given me to lead the country at this time. I see myself as prime minister of each and every one of you, those who voted for me and those who did not. I will work to heal the rifts that opened between the various segments of society during the election campaign.
Now we must all put the elections behind us and focus on that which unites us. In the new government that will be formed, I am committed to continue on this path, that of a Jewish and democratic state that upholds equality of rights for all its citizens regardless of religion, race or gender - thus it has been and thus it will be.
The next government will be faced with two challenges: Building up our security and improving our social welfare. Already in the first budget that we will pass, we will include a series of steps designed to lower housing costs, lower food prices and dismantle the monopolies that impede competition. And regarding security, it is a foundation of our existence, our future and the hope for peace with our neighbors. Our hand is extended in peace to our Palestinian neighbors. The people of Israel know that a true peace, our very future, will be assured only if Israel remains strong in sprit as well as in power. One need only look at the disturbances around us to understand this clear reality.
We very much appreciate, and will take care to preserve, our alliance with the best of our friends, the United States; however, we will continue to work to prevent the agreement with Iran, an agreement that endangers us, our neighbors and the world. We see eye to eye with many of our Arab neighbors regarding the danger posed by Iran and we also view positively the benefit that this new partnership could have for the region."