Israeli president calls for healing after divisive election

Reuven Rivlin

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s mostly ceremonial president says it must begin a “healing process” after a stormy election campaign.

Reuven Rivlin was meeting Sunday with the parties in parliament to hear their recommendations before deciding who will form the next coalition government. After a resounding victory, that person will almost surely be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a last-ditch attempt to spur his supporters to the polls last week, Netanyahu warned that Arab citizens were voting “in droves” and endangering years of rule by his right-wing Likud Party. The comments drew accusations of racism from Israeli Arabs and a White House rebuke about the divisive language.

Alluding to the uproar, Rivlin told Likud representatives that the emerging government will have to serve “all the citizens of Israel, Jews and Arabs.”