Israeli Coalition Government Formed In Last Minutes Before Deadline

The legal deadline to form a new government was close to passing before a deal for new coalition government was formed in Israel. The deal comes after two days of fierce negotiations. The last-minute deal-making points to problems in Israel’s fractured political system. Ten parties split the seats in Parliament with none having a large enough majority to push through policy decisions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will start his fourth term with the slimmest of parliamentary majorities. After a divisive campaign for the elections held on March 17, Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud Party celebrated a surprisingly strong victory, but quickly found themselves facing opposition from the other parties. To cobble together 61 of Parliament’s 120 members into a coalition, he was forced to make major concessions to the more conservative Jewish Home party. Mr. Netanyahu indicated that he would still try to get other parties to agree to enter the coalition to make it stronger.

Mr. Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home, appeared together to tell reporters they had sealed the deal at Israel’s Parliament building and to shake hands in front of the cameras. Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Bennett plan to finalize details of their agreement and sign it Thursday. The new government is slated to be sworn in next week.

The Likud-led coalition includes center-right faction Kulanu; two ultra-Orthodox parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas; and the Jewish Home. Kulanu’s leader, Moshe Kahlon, will become finance minister. Moshe Ya’alon of Likud is likely to continue as defense minister. Mr. Bennett is expected to serve as education minister. Another Jewish Home member, Ayelet Shaked, will serve as justice minister.

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