Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivers victory speech, January 22, 2013.
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that he sees many partners to share his goals with him, as he delivered a speech following the release of exit polls on Tuesday night. Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid spoke simultaneously, causing Israeli news channels to broadcast both speeches through a split screen.
Speaking on stage at a small Likud rally in Tel Aviv, the prime minister delivered his victory speech, announcing: "Together we will succeed."
"I see many partners for my goals," the prime minister said. "We must form the broadest coalition possible. I started working on this tonight," he promised.
During the speech, Netanyahu emphasized his five priorities.
- Topping the list was tackling the Iranian nuclear threat, but the prime minister promised to also focus on domestic and economic issues.
- Responsible economic policies came second on his list, and
- seeking a "responsible peace" followed in third.
- Netanyahu said his fourth priority was to equalize army and national service for Israeli citizens.
- Fifth, the prime minister said, was to lower the cost of living and ease the financial burden on middle classes.
The prime minister thanked his supporters, saying he is "proud to be your prime minister."
"I thank you that giving me another chance, for the third time, to lead the State of Israel. It's a great privilege and a great responsibility," he said.
He added that the voting process showcased "exemplary democracy."
Netanyahu thanked his former foreign minister and Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman, who took to the stage briefly to thank his supporters.
"I'm happy that our two main missions were achieved. We have ensured a continuity in the rule of the national camp and the continued leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu," Liberman said.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday night also responded to the announcement of the exit polls, saying that a "heavy responsibility has been placed upon our shoulders."
Speaking at a Yesh Atid supporters rally that was broadcast at the same time as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech, Lapid said:
"No matter where you go, don't be like those who, the moment they are elected, forget. I have just been elected, and I will not forget."
Echoing Netanyahu, the Yesh Atid leader called on parties to put divisions of the campaign behind them and work for a wide government.
Yesh Atid is set to be the second-largest party in the Knesset with an estimated 18-19 seats according to exit polls.