Full text of Rivlin’s announcement that he is tasking Lapid with forming government

The following is the full text of President Reuven Rivlin’s announcement on May 5, 2021, tasking Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with forming the next government:

“Yesterday, Prime Minister MK Benjamin Netanyahu informed me that he had been unable to form a government and that, accordingly, he was returning the mandate to me. Having received the positions of all the parties, and spoken to MK Yair Lapid and MK Naftali Bennett, I understood that MK Naftali Bennett remains with seven recommendations, while MK Yair Lapid gained 11 recommendations so that he has 56 recommendations.

MK Mansour Abbas wrote that he would ‘cooperate positively with anyone who is entrusted with forming a government, that is to say the person that receives the most number of recommendations.’ MK Naftali Bennet expressed his wish for a stable government that will serve the Israeli people and clarified that he does not rule out the possibility of forming a government with MK Yair Lapid.

The main consideration that Israeli presidents must weigh when arriving at the decision of who to entrust with forming a government is who has the best chance of forming a government that will have the confidence of the new Knesset. From the number of recommendations, it is clear that MK Yair Lapid could form a government that has the confidence of the Knesset, despite there being many difficulties. Given these circumstances, returning the mandate to the Knesset would be a misapplication of the law and could result in a fifth round of elections before all possibilities for forming a government had been exhausted.

On the basis of the recommendations I received from the parties in the Knesset, and according to the authority granted to me under paragraph 7 of the Basic Law: The Government 2001, I have just spoken to MK Yair Lapid and informed him that I am entrusting him with forming a government, whether this is a government that he will head at the beginning, or a government headed by someone else first in which he will serve as alternate prime minister.

I told him that this is a position that only a very few people have attained when they are entrusted with forming a government for Israel, and that I am sure that for him it is a moment that signifies the highest level of importance and national responsibility.

My fellow Israelis, we have been caught in a maze – if not a political crisis – for some time now. But we must not allow these difficulties to undermine our faith that we are on the right path, and that we can continue to build the sovereignty of the Israeli people here. Whatever it takes, we will know how to come out of this stronger, unified, on the highway guided by Israeli society.

Once I was young and now I am old, but I have never seen any crisis that has weakened the spirit of this wonderful people.

Earlier this week, at the Jerusalem Unity Prize ceremony here at Beit HaNasi, Rabbanit Racheli Fraenkel, the mother of Naftali Fraenkel who was killed together with Gilad Shar and Eyal Yifrah, spoke words that touched my heart and which should be in the mind of our leaders as they work to form a government. ‘We are close to desperate,’ said Racheli, ‘yearning for normal days when we can stand together, without trampling or being trampled. To be close without crushing each other’s identity. To allow room for each one of us to breathe, separately and together. To manage to move forward without being forced to clamber over other people. To experience the sacred and the light of each other, but together.’ She added, “Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai said: ‘my son, do not expect the footsteps of the Messiah until you see all the colors of the rainbow clearly’. This teaches us that redemption requires all shades of colors.’

Israeli society is stronger, more robust, more united and better than they tell us. We know how to support each other in solidarity. The IDF and our security offices, in hospitals, in charitable organizations, in social initiatives that move the heart like I saw after the terrible tragedy on Mount Meron, and as we have seen all throughout the corona crisis. From this crisis, there is a great opportunity to repair and, perhaps there is no alternative but to repair, to heal, to regrow stronger.

My dear fellow Israelis. Like my predecessors, the former presidents of Israel, I have done everything I can to preserve public confidence, even in tempestuous times. Unlike my predecessors, this is my sixth, and last, time when the decision of who to entrust with forming a government has fallen to me. ‘Forgive my hidden faults. …May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.’” (Psalms 19)

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