Good evening.

This morning I met with the President of Israel, and asked his approval to dissolve the Knesset and move towards new elections as soon as possible. Following this, I began to establish a new, national liberal party in Israel together with my colleagues, who displayed courage and national responsibility.

After many misgivings, I decided to leave the Likud Party today. In its present form, the Likud cannot lead Israel towards its national goals. I established the Likud to serve a national idea, and provide hope to the people of Israel. Unfortunately, it no longer exists there.

If I had stayed in the Likud, I would have probably won in the primaries, and would have led the Likud to victory in the elections. This would have been the safest move for me personally, however it is not the way to serve the State of Israel. Staying in the Likud means wasting time on political struggles, rather than acting on behalf of the state.

I prefer the good of the country to the comfortable and easy personal interest. The citizens of Israel gave me their trust. They did not elect me to warm a seat.

The new movement we are establishing today will serve the people of Israel for many years. It will be a new home for all the Israelis who want to act responsibly and with faith for the country, and realize the Zionist vision. I call on all who believe in this to join us, and move forward with us.

We are embarking on a new path - one which will provide Israel with genuine hope for stability, national responsibility, personal security, stable government, economic prosperity, tranquility and peace.

This is what the people of Israel need today. This is why I was elected, and I open myself up to the judgement of the voters today.

We face two great challenges. First, to lay the foundation for a peace agreement wherein the country’s permanent borders will be determined, while insisting on the dismantling of terrorist organizations. This is not a new plan, I speak of the Roadmap. Disengagement gave us an historic opportunity, and I do not intend to allow anyone to squander it.

The second challenge is to put our own house in order, and to deal determinedly with poverty, educational gaps, crime and violence. This is not accomplished through slogans and empty promises, rather through action. I began to do this, and I can complete it.

I have served the State of Israel for over sixty years I know its fields, borders, even its odors - and primarily I know and love the citizens of this country. The citizens of Israel deserve leadership which acts, first and foremost, for the good of the public, and not for the narrow political interest. They deserve responsible, experienced and courageous leadership, which operates with a strategic view of the future of the State of Israel.

The citizens of Israel placed their trust in me twice. I believe that I have proven my determination, and my ability to act and accomplish things on their behalf. I believe that, God willing, they will place their faith in me a third time as well.

Thank you.