At a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Yisrael Beiteinu’s Knesset members into the coalition but also called on opposition leader Isaac Herzog to bring his Zionist Union into a unity government to increase the chances for peace with the Palestinians.
The Israeli Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to achieving a two-state solution with the Palestinians: “I am committed to peace with the Palestinians, my policy hasn’t changed”.
He underlined that his first priority was Israel’s security, but he was also committed to promoting the peace process with the Palestinians and pursuing “every avenue for peace”.
Netanyahu said he agreed with Herzog that there were regional opportunities to promote peace and called on the Zionist Union leader to join a “broad, genuine unity government that will bolster national unity and increase chances for peace”.
Lieberman also affirmed his commitment to the peace process, stating: “At the end of the day my intention [is] to provide security, and of course we all have a commitment, a strong commitment, to the peace, to the final-status agreement” with the Palestinians.
Yisrael Beiteinu is a right-wing nationalist party which has vast support from Israel’s Russian-speaking community. As a result of the party’s inclusion into the coalition, the number of Knesset members it contains has expanded from 61 to 66, out of a total of 120 seats.
Netanyahu said the new expanded coalition would improve political stability and help Israel “deal with the challenges in front of us, as well as the opportunities in front of us”.
Lieberman replaced Moshe Yaalon as Defence Minister, a Likud member who stepped down from his post and from the Knesset last week.