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Netanyahu promises ‘a national government,’ says he’ll act to heal internal rifts

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu addresses supporters at the party's campaign headquarters in Jerusalem early on November 2, 2022, with his wife Sara at his side. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu addresses supporters at the party's campaign headquarters in Jerusalem early on November 2, 2022, with his wife Sara at his side. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Netanyahu calls the Likud’s election performance “a huge expression of faith.”

“I’m not the king,” he says, as chants of “Bibi, king of Israel” ring out again. “I need to be elected, and I will be elected, thanks to you.”

He hails Likud as “by far the biggest party in Israel,” and congratulates “our partners in the national camp” on their electoral performance.

He says the vote shows that the Israeli people “want security, a reduced cost of living — it wants strength, it doesn’t want weakness…”

He vows “to restore the national pride that’s been taken from us.”

Netanyahu stresses Israel as a Jewish state, but does not specify Israel as a democracy: The people, he says, “want a Jewish state — a state that respects its citizens, but this is a Jewish state,” he repeats. “Our national state, that we dreamed of and fought for, and spilled seas of tears and blood to achieve.”

The people, he goes on, “want a stable government, an experienced government… a prime minister who looks after our soldiers, our police.”

He promises to be “very aggressive in protecting our security and in the search for peace with our neighbors — with concern for all citizens.”

He says he insists on “full electoral integrity” — with Likud having earlier filed a police complaint over alleged voting irregularities in the Arab sector.

As for the nature of the coalition he’ll establish, Netanyahu promises that “if the actual results reflect the exit polls, I’ll set up a national government that will look after all the citizens of Israel, without exception, because the state is all of ours.”

He does not specify which parties will be in this coalition, but that formulation, and the election arithmetic, indicate that it will be comprised of Likud’s natural partners — the far-right Religious Zionism, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism.

“We’ll restore security, we’ll cut the cost of living, we’ll widen the circle of peace even further, we’ll restore Israel as a rising power among the nations,” he says.

“We have one state, one destiny, one future,” he says.

In the most conciliatory passage of his address, he also promises to “act to lower the flames of public discourse; to heal the rifts — not only to widen the peace with our neighbors, but also to restore the internal peace within.”

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