Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin (L, seated) sits next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R, seated) pose for a group photo together with the ministers of the new Israeli government, in Jerusalem, 19 May 2015.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ministers of the 34th Government of Israel arrive at the President’s Residence for the Traditional Photograph with the President; PM and President Make Remarks

President Reuven Rivlin, together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stood for the traditional photograph at the President’s Residence with the ministers of the newly sworn-in 34th Government of Israel on Tuesday, May 19.

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At the beginning of the event, the President and Prime Minister delivered brief statements, and toasted, with the ministers, the success of the new government.

President Rivlin began by referring to the great challenges that face the new government, “There are governments that receive a grace period of one hundred days. However, there are great challenges that this government must deal with from the outset, without a 100 day grace period. Previous governments did not face such challenges in the same way or with the same intensity. With regard to foreign affairs, you are required to deal with international pressure in a manner that demands endurance and the ability to make considered decisions which will not lead the State of Israel to isolation, but will preserve the red lines of Israeli diplomacy. On the domestic front, you face the urgent and crucial mission to present a budget which will provide an answer to the social and economic needs of the citizens of Israel – from housing and employment to welfare.”

President Rivlin addressed the ministers and spoke of the criticism of the size of the government. He said, “On your shoulders rests the task and the duty to prove your ability to manage the affairs of the state with its complexities and sensitivities, for the benefit of all citizens. Much noise was made on the issue of the size of the government which was sworn in, and ostensibly relating to its legitimacy. However, in Israeli democracy a government of sixty-one Members of Knesset is as democratic and legitimate as a government of ninety Members of Knesset. We must remember that the most dramatic moves in Israel’s political history, including the Oslo Agreement, were decided by a single vote. Equally today, we must respect and obey the rule of democracy. A narrow government must be, and is able to be, a good government as long as it is faithful to its internal cohesion, and to the public interests of all the citizens of Israel.”

The President concluded by wishing the new government success, “On my own behalf and on behalf of citizens of Israel, I want to wish success to the Prime Minister and all the new ministers and Members of Knesset in general. Together with all the people, I am filled with hope and prayers for your success.”

Prime Minster Netanyahu said, “Also for the fourth time, just as the first, I am greatly moved and honored to present to you today, the ministers of the Government of Israel. This government has been established at a time of great challenges and opportunities. Our first challenge is to ensure the security of Israel in the face of accumulating threats around us. Radical Islam is lapping at all our borders, nearly all in the form of factions and forces led by Iran and other radical elements. At the same time, aided by the agreement proposed to it, Iran is making progress in achieving a nuclear weapon. All the enemies of Israel know that in the face of these threats, we have red lines.

“Until today, Mr. President, we have been successful in keeping Israel out of the turmoil and atrocities affecting the region. We will continue to guard the security of Israel. The threats in the region also create opportunities. Many states around us have common interests with us, they see eye to eye with us on the dangers, and they see Israel as central partner in fending them off. We will make every effort to translate this cooperation into processes for stability and peace, including attempts to reach a responsible political settlement with the Palestinians, which will safeguard Israel’s essential interests. We will continue to promote deeper ties with the US Administration and the American people. Even at times of disagreements, this bond is stronger than any difference of opinion.

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