Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has informed the Israeli President that he has formed a government
Benjamin Netanyahu officially informed Israeli President Isaac Herzog has successfully formed a government, his Likud party said on Wednesday.
In what was a last-minute announcement, Netanyahu tweeted 10 minutes before the deadline: “I did it.”
Netanyahu, already prime minister for 15 years until he was ousted last year, had until midnight local time (5 p.m. ET) on Wednesday to form a government after the Nov. 1 election.
The new Israeli government is likely to be the most right-wing in Israel’s history, including people appointed to ministerial positions who were once considered the extreme nationalist fringes of Israeli politics.
Members of Netanyahu’s Likud party are expected to fill some of the top cabinet positions of foreign minister, defense minister and justice minister.
Itamar Ben Gvir, leader of the Jewish Power party, will take on the newly expanded public security role, renamed minister of national security, overseeing police in Israel plus some policing in the occupied West Bank.
Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionist Party, was named finance minister, although he was also given the right to appoint the head of Israel’s military authority, whose duties include border crossings and permits for Palestinians.
Aryeh Deri, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, is expected to serve as both interior minister and health minister, while a representative of United Torah Judaism, the other ultra-Orthodox party in the five-party coalition, is expected to be housing minister. .
As of Wednesday evening, not all ministerial positions had been announced.
Special legislation must be passed in the coming days before Derry, Ben Gvir and Smotrich can be sworn in. Derry needs legislation to allow him to serve as minister despite his criminal conviction for tax offences.
Ben Gvir needs legislation because his position expands the powers normally given to the minister of public security, and Smotrich needs new legislation to give him ministerial authority within the defense ministry.
All three pieces of legislation are considered controversial, and there are voices outside Netanyahu’s political opposition who have spoken out against them, including security officials.
The new government must be sworn in within a week of notifying Israel’s parliament, the Knesset – possibly before January 2.
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