Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during his victory speech at Likud headquarters as his wife, Sara, looks on.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement early Wednesday morning inviting potential coalition partners to immediately enter talks for the swift formation of what is expected to be a religious-nationalist government in Jerusalem.
"The reality isn't waiting on us," Netanyahu said just hours after it became clear that his Likud party had scored a decisive victory over Zionist Union in Tuesday's poll. "Reality isn't taking a break. The citizens of Israel expect us to quickly put together a leadership that will work for the sake of the country's security, economy, and society as we promised to do, and that is what I will do."
The premier said that he had already spoken with the heads of parties that he plans to invite into his coalition, including Bayit Yehudi chief Naftali Bennett, Kulanu's Moshe Kahlon, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, Shas leader Aryeh Deri, and United Torah Judaism representatives Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni.
"The prime minister plans to immediately begin forming a government in order to complete the task within two to three weeks," he said.
A triumphant 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."