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The Israeli election focused heavily on domestic issues, such as the high cost of living and calls to end a contentious system that has allowed ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students to be exempt from compulsory military service.
Addressing his party Monday, Lapid made no mention of the Palestinians, appealing to the ultra-Orthodox to work with him on draft reform.
Netanyahu said that while there is a "golden moment" to deal with domestic issues, his first concern was to protect Israel. He listed a number of security threats to Israel, including Iran’s suspect nuclear program, instability in neighboring Egypt, the civil war to Israel’s north in Syria and the threat of sophisticated weapons reaching the hands of violent anti-Israel groups.
Zahava Gal-On, leader of the dovish opposition party Meretz, said Jewish settlers were the "big winners" of the election.
"The next government will not make peace, will not narrow social gaps, will not concern itself with equality for all citizens of the state. The next government will continue to do much for the settlers and little for the rest of the Israeli public," she said.
Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed.
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