September 27, 2023

Likud, the part of Israel’s prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, reached on Friday an initial coalition agreement with the far-right Jewish Power party that will see leader Itamar Ben-Gvir appointed the Minister for National Security.

It is understood the post represents a version of the Public Security portfolio with an expanded purview that also includes the Real Estate Enforcement division and the West Bank Border Police division. Additionally, Ben-Gvir’s party will be tasked with Negev and Galilee ministry—which will now be decoupled from the Social Periphery Ministry—and the Heritage Ministry.

Amichai Eliyahu will preside over the latter, while the Negev and Galilee Ministry will be headed Yitzhak Wasserlauf, the Jewish Power deputy leader. “We took a big step tonight toward a full coalition agreement, toward forming a fully, fully right-wing government,” Ben-Gvir—a controversial far-right activist staunchly opposed to Palestinian statehood—said in the statement.

After reports that Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, was struggling to put together a workable coalition, Ariel Kahana, senior diplomatic commentator expressed earlier in the week that “the main obstacles to the coalition are behind us and Netanyahu more or less solved the main problems.”

Shas leader Aryeh Deri is likely to receive the transportation and interior ministry portfolios; Deri served as interior minister from 2016 to 2021 under the previous Netanyahu-led government. Whereas Likud talks with Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism faction appeared to be at a stalemate.

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