Incoming prime minister completes final legislative and negotiating blitz ahead of government’s swearing-in Thursday.
By World Israel News Staff
Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu secured the support of all of his right-wing allies Wednesday morning, following a legislative blitz to pass bills necessary to form his new government.
A week after the Likud chairman informed President Isaac Herzog that he had won the backing of a majority in the 120-member Knesset, Netanyahu completed coalition talks with all five of the right-wing and religious partners slated to be partners in his new government.
While the Likud had signed preliminary agreements with the parties earlier this month, details regarding the new government’s agenda were hotly contested until the final deals were inked Wednesday morning.
Just a day before Netanyahu is set to present the government to the Knesset to be voted into power and sworn in, the Shas, United Torah Judaism, Religious Zionist Party, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam parties all finalized their coalition agreements with the Likud.
The coalition deals were inked shortly after the Knesset passed the “Ben-Gvir Law,” one of the prerequisite laws needed for the new government to operate as agreed upon in the coalition agreements.
The bill was passed early Wednesday morning following an overnight filibuster by the outgoing coalition. The Knesset ultimately voted 61-55 in favor of the bill, broadening the powers of the Public Security Minister portfolio, expanding the office into the National Security Ministry.
Following the signing of the coalition agreements Wednesday morning, Netanyahu thanked his right-wing allies and predicted that the new government will last its full term, putting an end to the years of political chaos that have left Israel without a stable, lasting government since Yisrael Beytenu bolted the government in November 2018.
“I would like to thank you all for your extensive joint efforts that brought us to this day. We have achieved our goal,” Netanyahu said.
“A huge percentage of the State of Israel, over two million Israelis, voted for the national camp led by us. We will establish a stable government for a full term of all citizens of Israel.”
With the coalition agreements completed, Netanyahu turned to his own party, the Likud, to allocate the key government and Knesset leadership positions lot given to coalition allies.
On Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu tapped former Justice Minister Amir Ohana to serve as the next Knesset Speaker, replacing Yariv Levin, another Likud lawmaker who agreed to temporarily fill the role prior to the government’s formation. Levin is expected to be appointed Justice Minister.
Netanyahu also finalized his choice of Defense Minister for the new government, selecting Yoav Galant, a retired general who once commanded the IDF’s Southern Command and later served as Education Minister, Immigration Minister, and Construction and Housing Minister.
Veteran Likud lawmakers have threatened not to support the government if they do not receive major positions either in the government or the Knesset.
On Monday, Kan 11 reported that former Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz demanded that he return to the position in the new government.
“It’s either the Foreign Ministry, or I’m out,” Katz reportedly said.
MK David Bitan, an ally of Katz, has also expressed his frustration with the allocation of positions in the new government, citing MK David Amsalem’s frustration after he sought either the Justice Ministry portfolio or the Knesset Speaker’s gavel.
“Netanyahu did not set a red line. He made a mistake, it is clear to him today that he made a mistake,” Bitan told Channel 12.