Israeli PM 'reaches coalition deal'

Israeli PM 'reaches coalition deal'
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a deal with a major political party to form the next government, the party said today.

The three main coalition partners will meet later today to sign the agreement, according to a spokeswoman for the Yesh Atid party.

After weeks of negotiations, Mr Netanyahu’s bloc has joined up with the centrist Yesh Atid and the pro-settler Jewish Home parties.

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who leads a small party, joined last month.

The talks had stalled over the division of cabinet portfolios and planned reforms in the country’s military draft law.

Mr Netanyahu, whose bloc won 31 seats in the 120-member assembly, had struggled to form a coalition since the January 22 parliamentary election.

The new cabinet appears set to address pressing domestic issues while putting peacemaking with the Palestinians on the back burner.

Although Mr Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beitenu bloc emerged as the biggest faction in the January 22 parliamentary election with 31 seats, he has struggled to form a coalition with the necessary 61-seat majority of 120 seats in parliament.

The prime minister’s bloc has now joined up with two parties led by charismatic newcomers who made big gains in the election.

Yesh Atid, founded by former TV personality Yair Lapid, won 19 seats in the election on a message promising relief to Israel’s struggling middle class and an end to draft exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox.

As head of the second largest party in parliament, Mr Lapid will serve as the new finance minister, a position with great influence over setting the government’s budget. It will also control the education ministry.

The Jewish Home, a party linked to the West Bank settler movement led by hi-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, is likely to control the housing and trade ministries.

Mr Netanyahu’s bloc will retain control of the powerful defence and interior ministries.

Ms Livni, who leads a small dovish party committed to reaching peace with the Palestinians, joined Mr Netanyahu’s coalition last month with promises that she would be his chief peace negotiator with the Palestinians.

If all goes according to plan the new Israeli government will be sworn by Monday, two days before president Barack Obama visits Israel.

More in this Section

Weather change fuels hopes Gran Canaria blaze can be tackledWeather change fuels hopes Gran Canaria blaze can be tackled

One dead, seven injured in Montana demolition derby crashOne dead, seven injured in Montana demolition derby crash

New documents reveal Japanese wartime emperor’s ‘deep regrets’New documents reveal Japanese wartime emperor’s ‘deep regrets’

El Salvador rape victim suspected of having abortion acquitted at retrialEl Salvador rape victim suspected of having abortion acquitted at retrial


Lifestyle

It’s 100% better than takeout.How to make Jamie Oliver’s veggie pad thai

The Hunger is billed as an opera, but its composer, Donnacha Dennehy, prefers to call it a “docu-cantata”.The Hunger: Appeals to God and for pity in this clash of two linguistic worlds

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.August 21, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

For this year’s sausage survey we focused on a high proportion of meat. It had to be over 65% — a substantial sausage that would barbecue well in summer, but that also could be simmered gently in a tomato sauce for 15 minutes to make a quick meal — this way, sausages don’t have to be grilled/fried first.Summer bangers: The top 8 meaty sausages

More From The Irish Examiner