After weeks of negotiations with far-right and religious partners, Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had reached a deal to form a coalition government.
He called President Isaac Herzog just minutes before midnight and said: “I want to tell you that because of the incredible public support we received during the elections, it was possible to form a government that will care for all the citizens in Israel.”
His conservative Likud party and religious-nationalist parties close to the ultra-Orthodox and West Bank settler communities won a comfortable majority in Israel’s 1 November election – winning a majority of 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
However, the formation of a government was stalled by disagreements over a package legislation that addressed issues such as planning authority in West Bank and ministerial control of the police.
After a year of violence that saw the West Bank at its worst in over a decade, the new government, which Mr Netanyahu must present in a week, will be in office.
In the past year, more than 150 Palestinians and 20 Israelis were killed.
Netanyahu stated that he plans to finish the process of forming his new government “as soon next week as possible”.
He will lead a coalition of ultra-Orthodox and far-right partners, which could alienate large sections of the Israeli public. This could increase the likelihood of conflict with the Palestinians.
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Itamar Ben Gvir, a former incitement to hatred and supporter of a terrorist organization, was appointed security minister, putting him in charge the national police force.
Bezalel Shmotrich, who believes Israel should annexe the occupied territory will be given authority over West Bank settlement building and serve as finance minister.
Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving prime minister, is currently being tried for corruption. He has also spent the past 18 months as an opposition leader.
He is expected to work with his partners to pass a number of laws that will shake-up the country’s judiciary, and could possibly clear him of any criminal charges.
He claims he was the victim of overzealous police officers, prosecutors, and judges, and denies all charges against him.