September 27, 2023

Likud achieves breakthrough with UTJ, expects deal to be signed with Shas early next week, with coalition to be presented day or two later.

The Likud has achieved another breakthrough in coalition negotiations, according to a report Friday morning, bringing the right-wing bloc closer to forming a new government.

Hours after Likud chief negotiator MK Yariv Levin signed a coalition agreement with Otzma Yehudit early Friday morning, Likud negotiating teams have also achieved a breakthrough with United Torah Judaism, paving the way for the formation of a new coalition government as early as next week.

Days after coalition talks stalled between the Likud, Otzma Yehudit, United Torah Judaism, and the Religious Zionist Party, Likud officials are now optimistic they will be able to finalize coalition deals with their remaining partners early next week.

Shas is slated to complete coalition talks with the Likud on Sunday, and according to Friday’s report, Likud officials expect deals to be signed with United Torah Judaism, the Religious Zionist Party, and Noam a day or two later, securing a 64-seat majority for a new government led by Netanyahu.

In the deal reached with Otzma Yehudit Friday morning, party chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir will be appointed National Security Minister – an expansion of the existing office of Public Security Minister.

In addition, MK Yitzhak Wasserlauf will be appointed Minister of the Negev and the Galilee; MK Amichai Eliyahu will be appointed Heritage Minister – which will be formed to administer archaeological sites, including in Judea and Samaria; MK Almog Cohen is to become Deputy Economy Minister, although this appointment is tentative and could be replaced with another position; MK Tzvika Foghel will serve as chairman of the Knesset Public Security Committee; and MK Limor Son Har-Melech will chair the Knesset’s Special Committee for the Israeli Citizens’ Fund.

United Torah Judaism is expected to receive the Construction and Housing Ministry – which will go to party chairman MK Yitzhak Goldknopf; with MK Moshe Gafni returning as chairman of the Knesset’s powerful Finance Committee; MK Ya’akov Asher being appointed as chairman of the Interior Committee; MK Meir Porush will become Deputy Transportation Minister; and MK Ya’akov Tesler will be Deputy Welfare Minister.

MK Yisrael Eichler will also receive an appointment, though it has yet to be determined which position he will serve in.

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