Netanyahu and Bennett announced their coalition deal at the last minute on Wednesday night, but have yet to sign it in order to give Bennett 24 hours to iron out final details with his party and to allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form his fourth government. The Prime Minister will have the slimmest of majorities with 61 MKs in the 120-seat Knesset, including the Kulanu, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Habayit Hayehudi parties.
“Finally, there’s a government in Israel, ” Bennett said at a late-night press conference. “This isn’t a right-wing government, it isn’t a left-wing government, and it isn’t a center government. It’s a government of the entire nation of Israel.”
“I want to thank you for all you efforts in these negotiations throughout recent weeks”, Netanyahu said, “I’m sure that nobody was surprised that the talks continued with these parties and nobody is surprised that they were completed on time. Time is pressing not only because from here I will call the president and the Knesset speaker to announce that I have formed a government but also because I need to set it up next week and that’s what we will do so that this will be a strong and stable government for the people of Israel.”
“I said before that 61 was a good number, but 61 plus is an even better number. There’s still a lot of work left to all of us. Good luck to us and to the people of Israel, ” the prime minister added.
“I want to tell you, Mr. Prime Minister, we are behind you, ” Bennett added. “We will help and aid you for the success of the government under your leadership.”
The prime minister now has exactly a week to swear in his government. After the press conference, Netanyahu called President Reuven Rivlin to tell the president he was successful in forming a government.
Zionist Union and overall opposition leader Isaac Herzog has already branded the new government a “national failure.”
He wrote on his Facebook page. “Irresponsible, ungovernable and unstable, a government of national failure has been set up here today. Once again the mask of leadership has been removed from the prime minister’s face and we have discovered smugness and complacency with the embarrassing farce of the establishment of the weakest, narrowest government and the most open to extortion in Israel’s history. The prize of the justice ministry for Habayit Hayehudi that harmed and threatened the rule of law in the previous Knesset, is a clear example of Netanyahu’s contempt for the good of Israel’s citizens and that the rule of law and Israeli democracy are less important to him than his political needs. Instead of using the mandate he received to lead and set up a government that would benefit the public, Netanyahu has proven once again that survival is more important than improving the welfare and quality of life of all Israelis who wish for change and hope.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has notified President Reuven Rivlin, that he has succeeded in the task bestowed upon him of forming a new government.
The Prime Minister sent an official signed confirmation to the President’s office in which he wrote, “In accordance with Article 13 of the Basic Law: Government, and after you bestowed upon me the task of forming the government, I am honored to inform you that I have been successful in forming a government, which I will request is brought before the Knesset for its approval as soon as possible.”
Shortly after the President and the Prime Minister spoke by telephone.
President Rivlin thanked the Prime Minister and said, “I congratulate you on completing the formation of the government. I have received your letter of confirmation, and look forward to the convening of the Knesset as soon as possible, to approve the government.”
The Prime Minister thanked the President and updated him on the developments that made possible the formation of the government. In addition, he said that it was his intention to bring the government to the Knesset for its approval as early as possible next week.