Newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has started to form a coalition government of center and rightwing parties after he urged the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to start peace talks again at the negotiating table.
The prime minister is part of the Likud Beitenu bloc that is rightwing, which emerged last month from elections as the Knesset’s largest party. On Sunday, Netanyahu will start two days of talks with his rival parties near Tel Aviv in Ramat Gan.
Shimon Peres the Israeli President gave the responsibility to Netanyahu whose party earned 31 seats in the legislature out of 120. The prime minister must come up with a government coalition within six weeks. Peres said the most stable and broadest government is what is needed for the country at this time.
Netanyahu mentioned security issues on Saturday that were also the biggest part of his re-election campaign. He spoke of peace with Palestinians, one topic he avoided while campaigning.
Netanyahu’s current term has been mired with abortive talks over peace with the Palestinians. Talks fell apart over peace due to Israel’s expansion of settlements in the West Bank.
Two of the most decisive issues in the efforts of Netanyahu to form a coalition will be peace with the Palestinians and the requirement of ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews to participate in the military.
Media in Israel has said that the Likud Party is planning talks with the new centrist party Yesh Atid headed by Yair Lapid a TV personality as well as with Jewish Home and Shas Party the ultranationalist party that represents Orthodox Jews.