Israel Prez calls for 'healing', opens govt formation talks
Israeli President on Sunday began consultations with representatives of parties elected to the parliament for formation of a new government, calling upon them to start "healing" the rifts created during the "passion- filled" election, won by incumbent premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
Jerusalem: Israeli President on Sunday began consultations with representatives of parties elected to the parliament for formation of a new government, calling upon them to start "healing" the rifts created during the "passion- filled" election, won by incumbent premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
Reuven Rivlin, who is tasked with the responsibility to choose a leader who can provide a stable government, started meeting party leaders, five days after the election results gave Likud party leader Netanyahu a comfortable win with 30 seats out of the 120 in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
Likud's closest challenger the centre-left Zionist Union could manage only 24 seats.
"The government which will be formed may have been chosen by a majority of the public, but it needs to accommodate all of the Israeli public: Jews, Arabs, left and right, north and south, centre and periphery," Rivlin said.
Rivlin said Israel underwent a "tempestuous and passion-filled" election campaign, and that "now is the time to begin the process of mending and healing Israeli society.
His comments came in the wake of a very divisive campaign by Netanyahu who irked many including ally US, and left the Arab minority population, the centrist and left of centre parties fuming; all of them accused Netanyahu of being "racist" to win the elections.
Anger has been brewing since Netanyahu's unexpected election victory on March 17. He had called on the rightwing supporters to go to the polls citing high voter turnout in the Arab sector.
He also insisted that a Palestinian state will not be established under his watch, a statement which infuriated the US so much that the White House threatened to re-assess Washington's support for Israel at the UN.
But?a day after the polls, Netanyahu quickly backtrack on his statement telling?US media?he did want a "sustainable, peaceful two-state solution" but that the current situation does not allow for that to happen.
Left-wing Meretz party lawmaker Issawi Freij called upon Rivlin to compel Netanyahu to apologise for the disparaging remarks he made during the campaign.
"Netanyahu was not averse from using racism, with words whose aim was to stir up the basic fear of the voters in order to snatch a victory at the polling station, but this victory achieved on the backs of Israel?s Arab citizens," Freij said.
He appealed Rivlin "to make that a condition to receiving the mandate for putting together the government."
Netanyahu is expected to form a government composed of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties, including the Jewish Home party, Yisrael Beitenyu, Shas, United Torah Judaism and possibly Kulanu.
Faction leaders representing at least 61 of the 120 Knesset members are set to recommend that Netanyahu be charged with forming the next government.