Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during his victory speech at Likud headquarters.
(photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A triumphant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud supporters in his victory speech early Wednesday that he would aim to form "a strong, stable government" that would tackle "security and socioeconomic challenges."
Netanyahu told a jubilant crowd of Likud supporters early Wednesday morning that "against all odds, we have scored a major victory for the Likud."
"Hail, hail, Bibi," Likud adherents chanted as Netanyahu took to the podium on Wednesday.
"We have scored a major victory for the nationalist camp headed by Likud," Netanyahu said.
"I'm proud of the Israeli people because at the moment of truth they knew to differentiate between challenge and nonsense and they took up the challenge," the prime minister said.
Netanyahu said that his government will work to improve on "the most important things for all of us, which genuine security and socioeconomic welfare."
After the prime minister raised eyebrows in the latter stages of the campaign by warning of a high voter turnout among Israel's Arabs, Netanyahu seemed to be extending an olive branch to Israel's minorities during his speech.
"These are important things for every family, citizen, soldier, and all of Israel's Jewish and non-Jewish citizens," Netanyahu said. "You are all important, and you are all important to me."
The prime minister also seemed to be going out of his way to mention economic matters, a departure from his public appearances during which regional threats and the security front were prominent.
"Now we must form a strong, stable government that will know how to uphold security and socioeconomic well-being."
"We are faced with major challenges on the security and socioeconomic front," Netanyahu said. "We promised to take care of cost of living and rise of housing costs, and we will do it."
"I spoke to all of the nationalist party leaders, and I called on them to join me in forming a government without delay, because reality doesn't take a timeout."
"Citizens expect us to form a responsible leadership that will work for it, and that's what we will do."
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