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Elections for Knesset. Netanyahu: ‘Unity government – order of the day’.

“There’s no reason for us to go for further elections. I’m against it. A broad unity government is the order of the day,” Netanyahu said, calling on Opposition Chairman Gantz to meet with him as soon as possible.

President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Prime Minister Netanyahu for calling for unity:

“I hear the voices calling for establishment of a broad and stable unity government and I congratulate you, Mr. Prime Minister, on joining this morning to this call,” Rivlin said.

The President added, “This is an important call. The responsibility is that of the elected officials, especially the heads of the major parties.”

“During the elections, I called for the establishment of the right-wing government. But unfortunately the election results show that this is not possible. The people did not decide between the two blocs. Therefore, there is no choice but to form a broad unity government, as broad as possible, made up of all the factions to whom the State of Israel is dear,” Netanyahu said.

“Yesterday, I met with my friends in the right-wing parties and we agreed that we were going as one bloc with one joint delegation into negotiations.

“Now I call on you, MK Benny Gantz: Benny, we must establish a broad unity government today. The people expect us, both of us, to show responsibility and work for cooperation.

“That’s why I call on you – Benny, let’s meet today, any hour, any time, to kick-start this move which is the order of the day. We are not allowed to reach, and there is no reason for, a third election – I am against it. The order of the day – a broad unity government, today.”

It wasn’t clear whether Netanyahu’s mention of talks “without preconditions” included the significant condition that Yamina, United Torah Judaism and Shas be included in his proposed unity government.

Blue and White rejected the offer as “spin,” noted that Gantz’s party was ahead of Likud in the non-final election count, and accused Netanyahu of seeking to blame Blue and White as he seeks the eventual recourse of a third round of elections.