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'Biggest victory of my life' says Netanyahu

 


“This is the biggest victory of my life,” Netanyahu said, according to Israeli news website N12, after winning 60 Knesset seats, one short of a majority. Last September, Likud won 56 seats—not a majority, which led to the third elections.

“Together we did the impossible,” the prime minister added, saying, “Together, we turned Israel into a superpower,” citing growing relations with Arab and Muslim countries and promising to sign peace treaties with them.

Netanyahu also promised to secure future generations by annexing parts of the West Bank, eliminating the Iranian threat, and lowering the cost of living through economic reforms.

Netanyahu’s chief rival, Benny Gantz, pledged that Blue and White would remain united and continue on the same path, saying, “Our country needs healing, unity, reconciliation. It longs for a leadership that will bring it together, and we will continue to offer this to the Israeli public.”

He also took a swipe at Netanyahu, who he has accused of running a particularly dirty campaign, stating, “Many lies and slanders have been circulated about us and about me personally,” Gantz said. “They thought I’d panic, they thought I’d blink, and I’m telling you, it didn’t happen and it will never happen.”

The right-wing Yamina party celebrated the results, with leader Naftali Bennett saying that Netanyahu had already called him about forming a possible coalition, and confirming he would recommend to the president that Netanyahu form the next government, Yediot Aharonot reported.

Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, sounded a defiant note, saying he would not make any compromises in order to be included in a right-wing coalition, according to Algemeiner.

“We are a party with principles,” Lieberman said, according to Israeli news website Walla. “Everything we said before the elections still holds after the elections. In regard to our basic, principled stand, there will be no change.”

Among Lieberman’s stances that have put him in conflict with Netanyahu are what Lieberman sees as the prime minister’s overly conciliatory approach to Hamas in Gaza and the separation of religion and state, especially in regard to the Haredi community’s exemption from mandatory army service.

 

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