Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took his family and went straight to the Western Wall in his first post-election public appearance Wednesday to say a prayer of thanks for the resounding victory of his Likud party.
The Likud garnered 30 mandates out of 120 seats in the Knesset; Netanyahu’s closest rival, Isaac Herzog, won 24 mandates with his Zionist Union coalition merger with Tzipi Livni.
Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister since David Ben Gurion to be re-elected for a fourth term. He also is well aware of who is really in charge: Netanyahu also made sure to head for the Western Wall just prior to leaving for the United States to deliver his historic address to the U.S. Congress in Washington DC — the only head of state ever to address America’s legislators three times, other than Winston Churchill.
Netanyahu told media who were present for his post-electoral visit to the Western Wall on Wednesday that he was moved by the responsibility that he felt was placed upon his shoulders.
“Here in this place I am awed by the historical significance of a people renewing itself in its homeland after 4,000 years. I am moved by the weight of responsibility that the people of Israel have placed upon my shoulders and appreciate the decision of Israeli citizens to choose me and my colleagues against all odds.
“I would like to say that I will do everything in my power to care of the welfare and security of all Israeli citizens,” he added.
Netanyahu was accompanied to the Wall by his wife Sarah.
Last night (March 17) during his victory speech at Likud campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said, “Reality is not waiting for us. The citizens of Israel expect us to quickly put together a leadership that will work for them regarding security, economy and society as we committed to do – and we will do so.”
The Likud said in a separate statement that it is talking with the Bayit Yehudi party led by Naftali Bennett, as well as with Kulanu, the party led by former Likud member Moshe Kahlon, and the hareidi-religious parties.
The prime minister was clear during the campaign in stating his belief that recent history shows it is no longer in Israel’s best interests to support the establishment of an independent Palestinian Authority state. Netanyahu is therefore intent on building a right-wing government coalition that holds similar views.