JERUSALEM (AFP) — Hawkish Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday named Iran as Israel's main threat after accepting the task of forming a new government in the wake of the tight February 20 elections.
"Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence," he said at a ceremony at President Shimon Peres's official residence.
"The terrorist forces of Iran threaten us from the north," the presumptive prime minister said in reference to Lebanon and Syria, where Israel says Tehran supplies arms to Hezbollah and Hamas.
"For decades, Israel has not faced such formidable challenges.
"The responsibility we face is to achieve security for our country, peace with our neighbours and unity among us," he said.
In a brief speech, Netanyahu did not directly address the issue of stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, nor did he mention the US-backed two-state solution.
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