JERUSALEM — Israel’s president asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday to form the next government, and Netanyahu pledged that his new administration will be committed to advancing peace talks with the Palestinians.
Israeli President Shimon Peres formally requested Netanyahu to build a governing coalition, after conducting consultations with all 12 parties that won seats in last week’s election. A majority of newly elected lawmakers recommended Netanyahu as prime minister-designate.
Netanyahu has six weeks to form a coalition government, with an extension of 14 days if needed. If he succeeds, he will begin his third term as Israeli premier.
At a televised news conference, Netanyahu said the government’s top priority should be to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. He also said the government should “deal with another deadly weapon being stockpiled near us and threatening our cities and civilians,” a thinly veiled reference to weapons caches in Syria.
An attack on a weapons convoy in Syria this week has been widely attributed to Israel, though Israel has not commented on the matter.