Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to be a leader to everyone in Israel at an election victory celebration at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
In a wide-ranging address to guests Netanyahu, surrounded by Likud party colleagues, attacked the media and spoke of congratulatory messages from Arab leaders.
“We are on the eve of forming a new government and I will be the prime minister for everyone, those who voted for me and those who did no,” said Netanyahu.
“I want everyone in Israeli society, Jews and non-Jews as one, to be part of the success story called the State of Israel, and I want everyone to enjoy the prosperity and the progress.
He added, “I won’t be deterred by the media. There were respected political analysts who said I would pay a personal price if I’ll appoint one of our talented friends as Justice Minister (Yariv Levin).
“The people aren’t buying it anymore and they made their voices heard loud and clear in the elections. This is the will of the people.
“There are still those who have not internalised the results of the elections, the results of democracy.”
Noting Arab and Muslim leaders congratulating him on his win, Netanyahu claimed there was an opportunity for a better future based on the State of Israel being an up-and-coming world power that are strong, independent and progressive.
Israeli pop singer Eden Ben Zaken joined other music stars in entertaining guests.
Prior to the gathering President Reuven Rivlin confirmed a majority of parliament members advised him to allow Netanyahu to form a government.
His announcement came as Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit seeks to charge Netanyahu on three corruption cases. Netanyahu denies all allegations and does not have to resign if indicted.
Netanyahu’s nomination was on the cards after Likud won 35 seats and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz conceded defeat.
Netanyahu will build a coalition of far-right, right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties for a Likud-led government of 65 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
Gantz, who won 35 Knesset seats, could assemble a government if Netanyahu fails to form his coalition within 42 days. But it seems unlikely, especially after Yisrael Beytenu Party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman backed Netanyahu.
“The voters had their say, the election results are clear, the Right won 65-55,” he said at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem on Monday.
However, Lieberman is concerned ultra-Orthodox groups grew to potentially 22 Knesset seats.
“I see this as a threat to the ideals of (Zionist revisionist leader Ze’ev) Jabotinsky,” he explained. “This is something I am concerned about but I am taking it into account. The voter has made his decision.”
Lieberman, whose party won five seats, dismissed a national unity government with Likud and Blue and White.
By Adam Moses