Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement at the signing of the coalition agreements:
"Since the formation of the government approximately one year ago, I have emphasized time and again that I intended to expand it. Israel needs governmental stability in order to deal with the challenges we face and in order to take advantage of the opportunities we face. Therefore, I welcome Avigdor Liberman and the members of his faction as new and important partners in the coalition.
Avigdor and I have known each other for almost 30 years. I appreciate his ability and his experience. We have come a long way together; we have worked together for the security and welfare of Israel’s citizens. It is no secret that we have also disagreed with each other. This is part of political life and occasionally, in the heat of debate, things were said on both sides that should not have been said.
Now we are working together to move Israel forward. The agreement that we are signing today is good news for new immigrants, pensioners – the veteran population. As Prime Minister, I am committed to continue to assist all Israeli citizens; I emphasize the words all Israeli citizens.
But, of course, our first and highest commitment is to ensure the security of Israel. I, as Prime Minister and Avigdor Liberman, as Defense Minister, along with the Chief-of-Staff and the heads of the security services, will continue to safeguard the security of the citizens of Israel and will do so with determination and responsibility.
The Middle East continues to storm around us. The challenges facing Israel are many. But alongside the threats and the dangers – are opportunities. I am committed to advancing the peace process. I am committed to making every effort to reach an agreement.
Two days ago, here in the Knesset, Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog said that there are new opportunities in the region that can help to promote peace. I agree. I therefore call again upon Isaac Herzog and his colleagues to join us in a broad government, a genuine unity government, a government that would strengthen cohesion among the people, as well as our ability to maximize the chances for peace.
I would like to say a word at the end, a word of thanks: First of all to my colleagues, the coalition faction heads, for constantly supporting the expansion of the government; I think it was very responsible and consistent. I would like to thank Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who made an important effort to assist the signing of this agreement. I would like to thank my Likud colleagues who supported and helped, first and foremost you, Yariv Levin. You labored tirelessly, simply in a very great effort. I thank you, Yariv. Also thank you, Ze’ev, and you, David Bitan, and others. I also want to thank Moshe Leon, my staff, the National Economic Council and, of course, the Ministry of Finance. Thank you all."