רבלין מקבל את תוצאות הבחירות
Central Elections Committee Chairman Neal Hendel (left) handing President Reuven Rivlin the official results of the election to the 23rd Knesset
Photo: GPO
Central Elections Committee Chairman Neal Hendel (left) handing President Reuven Rivlin the official results of the election to the 23rd Knesset

There are no 'semi-citizens' in Israel, says Rivlin in post-election rebuke

Receiving final results of March 2 vote, president levels criticism at party leaders over divisive campaign rhetoric that singled out Arab sector; says his former unity government outline still valid

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 03.11.20 , 13:08
Receiving the final results of the March 2 elections for the 23rd Knesset, President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday leveled criticism at the heads of the parties that will take their seats in the next parliament over their apparent disdain for the Arab electorate.
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  • “In the Jewish-democratic equation, every vote counts," Rivlin said. "In the State of Israel, there are no half-citizens. There are deep disagreements, but no semi-citizens.”
    רבלין מקבל את תוצאות הבחירותרבלין מקבל את תוצאות הבחירות
    Central Elections Committee Chairman Neal Hendel (left) handing President Reuven Rivlin the official results of the election to the 23rd Knesset
    (Photo: GPO)
    The president then called on leaders to compromise on an outline for a stable government and offered once again a government outline he proposed in November for a unity government featuring Israel's two major parties, Likud and Blue & White, and a rotation deal for the position of prime minister between the leaders of both parties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz respectively.
    “There are many who are looking here with hope that answers will come from this residence," the president said. "The answers are for you to find, those who the public elected as its leaders, and I hereby place the task in hands once again.”
    This residence , and I personally, are at your disposal for any serious and genuine conversation you may wish to hold. Any agreement you are able to come to that produces a stable government that gains the trust of the people will be welcomed," he said.
    "Among other options, you have the outline I offered at the last elections. I am certainly aware of the criticism of the outline that I presented then, and agree with much of it. But I did not believe there was another way and, even today, the situation has not changed a great deal.“
    בנימין נתניהו ראובן ריבלין בני גנץבנימין נתניהו ראובן ריבלין בני גנץ
    President Reuven Rivlin, center, hosts Benny Gantz, left, and Benjamin Netanyahu as they discuss a unity government after the Sept. 2019 elections
    (Photo: GPO)
    According to the final results, Likud is the country's biggest party with 36 seats and main rival Blue & White trails behind with 33.
    The third-largest party is the predominantly Arab party Joint List with 15 seats; followed by Shas with 9 seats, United Torah Judaism with 7, Yisrael Beytenu with 7, Labor-Gesher-Meretz with 7 and Yamina with 6 seats.
    The final voter turnout in the March 2020 election was 71.46% - an increase from the previous elections in September, in which 69.8% of those with voting rights arrived at the polls.
    בחירות 2020 מצביעים קלפי טמרה ערבים ערביבחירות 2020 מצביעים קלפי טמרה ערבים ערבי
    A voter casts her ballot in the Arab town of Tamra, March 2, 2020
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Out of the 6,453,255 citizens recorded in the voters' register, 4,612,007 people cast their votes.
    Election officials have disqualified 25,053 invalid ballots. The electoral threshold stands at 3.25%, which equals 149,004 votes. Each seat equals 37,897 votes.
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