JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin chose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the first candidate to try and form a coalition government after last week’s election.
President Rivlin made the choice after he realized he couldn’t convince Netanyahu and Gantz to form a unity government.
“The ability of Member of Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government is better right now. Therefore, sir, I’ve decided to grant you the possibility to form a government,” Rivlin said, addressing Netanyahu.
Netanyahu says he wants a broad, unity government.
"I accept this mission that you have given me … the order of the moment is a unity government, a broad national unity government that is formed quickly,” said Netanyahu.
Netanyahu says Israel faces three main challenges: the growing military threat of Iran, Israel’s economy and securing international recognition for Israel’s borders. Those borders, and especially the Jordan Valley, are important to secure while a strong ally like president trump is still in office.
Yet, Netanyahu faces what some call a political mission impossible. He remains several seats short of a government majority. He’s also surrounded by rival parties who say they’re unwilling to join his coalition. With the Jewish new year beginning next week, Netanyahu hopes those parties may have a change of heart.