Netanyahu exults in his apparent election victory tonight.
“Against all odds, we achieved a great victory for Likud. We achieved a great victory for our people,” he tells jubilant supporters.
“I’m proud of the people of Israel, that in the moment of truth they knew how to separate the important from the trivial, and to stand for what’s important, for a real defense, a responsible economy, and a socially conscious economy that we’re committed to…. I can tell you with confidence that we stand before diplomatic and defense challenges, and economic and social challenges. We promised to act on the cost of housing, and we’re going to do it.”
He seems to delicately backtrack on some of the rhetoric of the past couple days that warned about Arab turnout and “foreign governments” leading to Likud’s fall.
His next government’s priorities, he says, “are important to every family, every young couple, every soldier, every citizen of Israel, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. You are all important, and you are all important to me.”
And he hints at his rejection of any proposed unity government with Zionist Union.
“And now we must establish a strong, stable government that will take care of the security and welfare of all Israel’s citizens,” he says, sparking fear among Likud members present that he may announce a unity government.
“We don’t want unity!” the activists began to shout, but their fears were soon calmed.
“I phoned all leaders of parties of the national camp [a Hebrew term for the right wing] and called on them to join me to establish a government without delay. Reality doesn’t take a break. The citizens of Israel expect us to form a responsible leadership that will work for them,” he announces.