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Netanyahu Formally Tasked With Forming New Israeli Government


JERUSALEM—Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received an official mandate on Sunday to form a new government.

Tasking Netanyahu with building the next coalition, President Isaac Herzog noted that Israel’s longest-serving premier had received enough recommendations from like-minded parties to secure 64 of parliament’s 120 seats.

That puts the conservative Netanyahu on the path to one of the most stable governments in years, after an 18-month hiatus during which he was replaced by an alliance of centrist, liberal, nationalist, and Arab politicians.

“I intend to work to broaden the zone of consensus among us,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks at Herzog’s residence, adding that he would represent all Israelis “without exception.”

Reiterating two of his long-held convictions, he pledged further free-market reforms to lower costs of living and said: “We must determinedly take action against Iran’s belligerence and, above all, foil its effort to arm itself with nuclear weaponry, which has direct designs against our existence.”

Having forged normalization with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco in 2020, Netanyahu said he would now work on “further peace deals, peace through strength, peace in exchange for peace, with additional Arab countries—and thus, to a large extent, end the Israeli-Arab conflict.”

He added: “I did not say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in my opinion this is the preliminary stage that would also bring that outcome.”

U.S.-sponsored talks on founding a Palestinian state alongside Israel stalled in 2014.

Netanyahu has 28 days to clinch a coalition, with a possible 14-day extension. But he looks likely to finalize the talks this week, having launched them semi-formally right after the Nov. 1 election.

Reuters

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