Israel: Netanyahu Calls for Two-Week Extension to Form Coalition Government

Israel: Netanyahu Calls for Two-Week Extension to Form Coalition Government

The designated Prime Minister in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, requested this December 8 a two-week extension to form a coalition Executive with his right-wing allies. “There are still unresolved issues” about the appointments, he wrote in a letter to President Isaac Herzog.

“We are in the middle of negotiations and we have made a lot of progress, but looking at the pace of things, it will take all the extra days provided by law to form a government,” Benjamin Netanyahu said, calling for more time to form a government, in a letter to President Isaac Herzog.

Last week, Netanyahu’s party, the Likud (conservative), signed coalition agreements with three far-right formations – Religious Zionism, Jewish Force and Noam – that won representation in Parliament in the legislative elections on November 1, in which outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid was defeated.

Negotiations with ultra-Orthodox parties

But to form the next government, Netanyahu still had to deal with the two ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (UJT) and Shass (Sephardic) parties, which he did in the last few hours. Following those talks, it was decided that Shass would control five portfolios in the next government, although no formal coalition agreement has been signed so far.

“The head of Shass, Arié Dery, will be Minister of Health and the Interior during the first part of the government’s mandate, and then he will be Minister of Finance,” both formations indicated in a statement, specifying that Dery would be appointed deputy prime minister, with what would become the first ultra-Orthodox deputy to hold that position.

Melissa Galbraith
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