Less than two hours before the official deadline, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, informed President Reuven Rivlin that his party, Likud, had reached coalition agreements with four of the five other right-wing parties in the Knesset.
The new coalition will only include 61 of the 120 Knesset members: Likud’s 30, Kulanu’s 10, Habayit Hayehudi’s eight, Shas’s seven and United Torah’s Judaism’s six. The leader of the remaining right-wing party, Yisrael Beytenu (six seats), Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, had decided to quit the government and not join the coalition.
Netanyahu will remain both prime minister and foreign minister, allegedly because he considers offering Yitzhak Herzog, leader of the Labor Party (24 seats in a list shared with Hatnuah), to become foreign minister. Herzog recently vetoed his party’s proposed decision of never joining the new government.