September 25, 2023

Herzog’s letter underscores that the govt should ‘maintain respectful, responsible dialogue.’

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog on Friday extended by 10 days the mandate authorizing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a governing coalition.

The November 1 election put Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, in a position to form a stable, right-wing government – ending an unprecedented period of political deadlock that forced five elections in less than four years in the Jewish state.

Netanyahu’s 28-day mandate was set to expire at midnight on Sunday, but late Thursday, he asked Herzog for more time to finalize deals with two parties, the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism. The letter appeared to reflect a concern, prevalent throughout much of the Israeli political spectrum, with the inclusion of extremist Jewish Power leader Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“These are complicated times for Israeli society, as arguments over fundamental issues threaten to cause fissures and inflame violence and baseless hatred.”

“Therefore, and in the spirit of your abovementioned remarks, I wish to repeat my call, issued on the day of the swearing-in of the Knesset, that the government that is set to be formed must work for the entire public in Israel and that the coalition being formed must maintain a respectful and responsible dialogue between the authorities—executive, legislature, and judiciary; must guarantee the State of Israel’s character in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence; and must preserve the powerful bond with the Jewish Diaspora.”

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