Israeli new gov't formed
Updated: 2013-03-16 01:09
JERUSALEM - The next Israeli government is formed after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party signed coalition agreements with Yesh Atid and the Jewish Home on Friday, local media reported.
Representatives of the three major parties signed the agreements at the nick of time, as the deadline to the government' s formation was set to Saturday.
The signing of the agreements marks the completion of Israel's 33rd government, two months after Israelis voted in the country's January 22 elections and it would be inaugurated officially on Monday.
Negotiations between Netanyahu's Likud-Beytenu party and the other political parties have had their ups and downs in recent weeks.
In the past three days, political parties have already signaled reaching final understandings but disagreements over several topics like the identity of the next Education Minister and the amount of ministers in the next government, prolonged the negotiations until the very last minute.
As part of the agreement, the Jewish Home's chief Naftali Bennet will be appointed to the "Economy and Industry" position, an upgraded version of what was formerly known as the Industry, Trade and Labor ministry.
"This will be a government of great opportunity," Bennet told local media on Friday after signing the agreement.
"Next week we wills start working together on what we promised during the elections to... increase competition in the market, deal with the cost of living, return the Jewish soul to the state of Israel, and now we have the tools for it," he added.
In addition, lawmaker Uri Ariel will become the Housing Minister responsible, among others, over the construction in the West Bank settlements.
The party would also get another minister's appointment and two deputy-ministers appointment and will get to head the parliament's Finance Committee. The new government will be inaugurated in upcoming Monday.
As for Yesh Atid's achievements, Yair Lapid will become the next finance minister and his No. 2 on the party's list, Shai Piron will be the next education minister, after a long battle over the position with outgoing minister Gideon Sa'ar from the Likud.
The party, which won 19 seats in the January 22 elections out of 120 in the Knesset (parliament) also received the Health and Welfare services ministries and managed to fit in its demands over drafting a new conscription bill for ultra-Orthodox men, raising the Knesset's threshold from 2 to 4 percent and reducing the number of ministers serving in the Israeli government.
The Likud-Beytenu party won 31 seats out of a possible 120 in the parliament in the January 22 elections. Israeli President Shimon Peres appointed Netanyahu to build a new government after 80 lawmakers recommended him for the task.
The center Yesh Atid party and the far-right Jewish Home Party, both new to the Israeli politics, received 31 seats together combined in the elections.
The two parties' leaders formed an alliance, refusing to enter Netanyahu's coalition without the other and forcing Netanyahu to take out the Ultra-Orthodox from his next government in order to advance their notion of conscription of ultra-Orthodox men into the army.