Netanyahu forms coalition government in Israel

On Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he had assembled Israel’s most right-wing government ever.

In November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election, gaining a mandate to form a coalition government with the help of two ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties and an extreme-right group.

An ideologically diverse coalition removed him as prime minister in 2021, leaving him poised to end Israel’s record of five elections in less than four years, resulting in political gridlock. His victory on Tuesday enabled him to reunite the divided party.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently battling corruption charges in court, has already served as premier for more than anyone else in Israel’s history, including a 12-year term from 2009 to 2021. His deadline to conclude coalition talks had expired at midnight. According to the Prime Minister’s office, he phoned President Isaac Herzog minutes before the deadline to inform him that he had established a government.

The Likud party, working in tandem with Israel’s ultra-Orthodox parties and hard-line religious nationalists, won a plurality of seats in the election.
Political analysts had predicted ahead of the November elections that Prime Minister Netanyahu would be able to form a new government quickly, because of the shared ideological ground between his Likud party and its allies.

Netanyahu, however, was forced to balance demands for senior cabinet posts, some of which he was required to grant. Itamar Ben Gvir, leader of the Jewish Power party, which has spoken out frequently against Arabs, was invited to become the head of an expanded national security ministry. Part of the delay in signing the coalition agreement was down to Ben-Gvir’s demands for increased control over policing than previous ministers had.

When the new government will be sworn in is not immediately clear. Mr Netanyahu told Mr Herzog that he wants to do so as soon as possible.
The crucial parliamentary business remaining unfinished could cause delays because of the continuing Jewish Hannukah holiday.


Image Credit: AP Photo/Oren Ziv, File