Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, has formally nominated Benjamin Netanyahu for a fourth consecutive term as prime minister. The appointment will make Netanyahu Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, surpassing David Ben-Gurion, the country’s founding father.
While handing Netanyahu a letter of appointment on Wednesday, Rivlin, tasked the prime minister with assembling a governing coalition within 42 days.
The move was widely expected after Netanyahu’s Likud party and its right-wing allies captured a majority of seats in parliamentary elections last week.
In a joint appearance after the two leaders signed and presented the official nomination, Rivlin called on Netanyahu to “heal the wounds and rifts” laid bare in Israeli society by the bruising election campaign.
Netanyahu said he was “moved” to accept his fifth nomination as prime minister “as though it’s the first time, and in a certain way, even more than the first time”.
He said he would “do everything to earn the trust that the citizens of Israel have bestowed on me”.
It is understood that should Netanyahu fail to form a coalition within 42 days, Benny Gantz, leader of the rival centrist Blue and White party, would take a shot at assembling a government.