Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on political rival to form a unity government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party (a secular, right-wing party) has called on his political rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party (a centrist party) to form a unity government after the country’s second election in the year ended with a tight loss for Netanyahu. “I propose that we meet as soon as possible without preconditions to cooperate in establishing a broad unity government for all those who believe in Israel as Jewish and democratic state. There is no reason to go to another election. I am against it,” Netanyahu said. ~

This would not be the first time Israel has set up a unity government, as Shimon Peres and his Likud rival Yitzhak Shamir created a similar system in the 1980’s. “Benny,” said Netanyahu, “we must set up a unity government today. The people expect the two of us to show responsibility and work for co-operation. That is why I call on you, Benny. Let’s meet today, at any hour, at any time, to put this in motion.” ~

With 97% of the votes counted, the Blue and White party has secured 33 out of the 120 seats in the Knesset (legislative branch) followed by Likud with 31 seats. In total, the right-wing and ultra-Orthadox bloc (Netanyahu’s bloc) has 55 seats, while the left-centrist bloc has 57 seats. It is unclear at this time if a change in leadership will have any significant effects on Israel’s foreign policy. ~

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