Rivlin Taps Netanyahu to Form Next Government

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin today asked the leader of the Likud party, Binyamin Netanyahu, to form the next government. But he acknowledged that it was a painful decision in light of the prime minister's ongoing corruption trial.

I know the position held by many, that the president should not give the role to a candidate that is facing criminal charges, but according to the law and the decision of the courts, a prime minister can continue in his role even when he is facing charges.

Rivlin is not hopeful that Netanyahu will succeed, however. On Monday, the president said that he sees no path for the rightist or centrist parties to build a majority.

But Netanyahu received 52 endorsements from members of Knesset to be the next prime minister, while centrist Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party received 42. Under Israeli law, Rivlin said he had no choice but to tap Netanyahu.

Still, his comments indicated that he made the decision with a heavy heart.

This is not an easy decision on a moral and ethical basis, in my mind. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, the State of Israel is not to be taken for granted. And I fear for my country. But I am doing what is required of me as president of the State of Israel, according to the law and to the ruling of the court, and realizing the will of the sovereign – the Israeli people.

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