(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, this evening (Saturday, 2 February 2013), announced, at an official ceremony, that Member of Knesset and current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will be tasked with forming the next government. Earlier President Peres signed a letter to Benjamin Netanyahu in which he tasks him with the responsibility of forming the government, as demanded by Basic Law: The Government.
President Peres said, "I was handed the official results of the elections to the 19th Knesset by the Central Elections Committee Chairman Judge Elyakim Rubinstein, on Wednesday late afternoon.
Basic Law: The Government empowers me with the responsibility to task one of the Members of Knesset with the responsibility to form the government, within seven days from receipt of the official results. The country needs the new government at the earliest possible opportunity. And so, immediately after receiving the results I began a round of consultation meetings with representatives of the parties elected to the 19th Knesset, as demanded by the law.
The discussions with the representatives of the parties were conducted with full transparency, with professionalism and dignity. I wish to thank all the party representatives who made themselves heard clearly and responsibly.
Representatives of 82 members of the 19th Knesset recommended to me that I should task the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with forming the government. I considered the matter and decided to task Benjamin Netanyahu with the formation of the government, after I received his agreement, as stipulated by law.
The representatives of the different parties raised important issues with me during our discussions and asked that they be considered when the government is formed. Included amongst them: the national deficit, social justice, the fight against discrimination, equitable sharing of the national burden, conscription to the IDF, restarting diplomatic negotiations to achieve peace and ways to deal with the security threats facing Israel. I will pass these issues on to the Prime Minister.
I hope that the work will be concluded quickly. The State of Israel needs diplomatic and economic stability so that the government can make the necessary decisions which are on the agenda. The challenges are many, serious and urgent. The people expect a worthy government to be formed quickly so that it can roll up its sleeves and get to work. With the responsibility given to me by the Basic Law of The Government, I am pleased to task the formation of the government upon Member of Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu. I do that with the utmost respect and I wish him luck with this commendable duty."
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Thank you, President Peres.
Dear citizens of Israel, I wish you all a good week. I thank you for the trust you have placed in me. It is an honor and a major responsibility to receive the mandate from you, for what is now third time, to lead our country.
We have many internal issues to deal with. But firstly, in the Middle East, we must ensure our security. The primary mission of the next government is to stop Iran from becoming armed with nuclear weapons. We will also have to deal with other lethal weapons which are building up in our area and with threats against our cities and our citizens.
We must continue to strengthen the Israeli economy. The next government which I will form will be committed to peace. I call upon Abu Mazen to return to the negotiating table.
I am committed to dramatically increase the equitable sharing of the national burden. I am sure we can do this in a responsible manner, which will bring about a fundamental change without tearing apart. Tasks of this nature demand a national unity government, as wide and stable as possible. The reality in which we live has no place for boycotts.
And so, I call upon those who said they would not sit in the government to reconsider and to come and find common ground. I call upon all sections of society and all the parties, including those who didn't recommend me, to join a responsible national unity government which will be as wide as possible, a government which will ensure the security, the unity and the future of the State of Israel."