Reaction to Bibi victory

COMMUNAL leaders have welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s success at last week’s election.

“While many challenges face Israel, we are confident that its new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to ensure the security and welfare of Israel, its values as a Jewish and democratic state and its commitment to pursuing peace,” Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) national chairman Mark Leibler and executive director Colin Rubenstein said.

They noted that the election results produced some “significant achievements”, with voter turnout the highest it has been since 1999 at 72.3 per cent, the new Joint Arab List gaining 13 seats, a record number of female candidates elected, and a shift towards two main blocs and a general movement to the centre, allowing the new Israeli government more flexibility on international affairs.

The pair added: “AIJAC welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s clarification regarding his continued support for a two-state outcome to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and also welcome, and particularly note the significance of, his apology for the remarks that he made on Election Day about Arab Israeli voters and his renewed commitment to be a Prime Minister in the interests of all Israeli citizens.”

Hailing democracy as the winner in the election, Zionist Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm said: “I am very hopeful that a strong and stable coalition will be put together quickly so that the government of Israel can move forward on the pressing issues that were facing the country before the elections, such as security, housing and the economy.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot said, “We send our warmest congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu on being returned to lead the government of the State of Israel and to all those elected to the 20th Knesset. This parliament will have a record number of female members which should be a source of great pride for the State.”

He added, “We pray that the new government is blessed with the strength, courage and wisdom to not only meet the immense challenges of finding peace and security, but also to lead the nation to even greater social cohesion and harmony.”

In a congratulatory letter to Netanyahu, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich and B’nai B’rith Australia/New Zealand president Morris Tobias wrote “we know that you will work to ensure a future of peace, prosperity and security for Israel’s citizens”.


Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating after his success at the polls last week. Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90

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