Statement by Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, February 20, 2009 after being
assigned By President Shimon Peres to form the next government.
I deeply appreciate your lifelong commitment to the State of Israel and your
tireless work on its behalf, which have continued these past few days.
I accept the task you have assigned me with humility and with a profound
appreciation for the enormous responsibility that you have placed upon me --
the responsibility to achieve security for our country, peace with our
neighbors and unity among our people.
As President of Israel, as a great Israeli patriot, you have rightly spoken
of the need, also expressed by most members of the Knesset, for unity.
Because at this fateful hour, the state of Israel faces enormous challenges.
Iran is developing nuclear weapons and poses the greatest threat to our
existence since our War of Independence. Iran's terror proxies confront us
in the North and South and the worst global economic crisis in the last 80
years threatens the jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of
For many decades, Israel has not faced an accumulation of so many great
challenges at one time.
Faced with such extraordinary challenges, we need a new attitude, a
different attitude, an attitude that expresses national unity.
These great challenges obligate us to work together and to unite all the
forces within our people. I call on the members of all the parties, both
those who recommended me [to the President] and those who did not recommend
me, to put politics aside and to place the good of the country first.
I turn first of all to the chairwoman of Kadima, Tzipi Livni and the
chairman of the Labor Party, Ehud Barak and say, let's join hands and work
together to secure the future of the State of Israel.
I ask to meet with you first to discuss forming a national unity government
for the sake of our people and the country.
I know that we have different approaches on many important issues but I also
know that we are all committed to working for the benefit of our country and
our common future.
That is why I believe that, given the seriousness of the hour and the needs
of our country, we can find common ground and a common path that will lead
Israel to security, prosperity and peace.
The great tragedies in the history of our people happened when we did not
unite in the face of great challenges. But the opposite is true as well. The
great victories occurred when we put our differences aside and stood
together as one during moments of truth. Today, we face such a moment of
Let us unite, let us join together and ensure our future, our children's
future and our country's future.