Netanyahu tasked with forming next Israeli government

Benjamin Netanyahu said his next government would be "committed to peace". Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive

Israeli President Shimon Peres has formally asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government after a majority of newly elected lawmakers recommended him to lead the country.

Mr Netanyahu has six weeks to form a governing coalition for what would be his third term as Israeli premier, but faces a challenge drawing secular and religious parties under one umbrella.

Mr Netanyahu said the government's next priorities should be to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, to deal with the stockpile of weapons in the region and to make peace with the Palestinians.