It comes after Mr Netanyahu and his main opponent, Benny Gantz, failed to agree a deal on a unity government. The election ended in a deadlock where Mr Gantz’s centrist Blue and White Alliance won 33 seats while Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party won 32 in the 120-seat Knesset.
Mr Netanyahu now has six weeks to try and forge a majority coalition in the Knesset. President Rivlin explained his decision by stating that he believes Benjamin Netanyahu has a “better chance of forming a government at the moment” as his right-wing block has a higher number of Knesset Members.
Analysts speculate that Benny Gantz took the decision to ensure Netanyahu goes first in trying to form a Government because he believes he will be in a stronger position if he is asked to form a Government after Netanyahu has tried and failed.