Coalition Agreements Revealed as Israel Prepares for New Government

June 9, 2021

by: JNS

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Yamina leader and Prime Minister-elect Naftali Bennett gives a press conference at the Knesset on May 30, 2021.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021 | Just days before Israel’s 36th government is expected to be sworn in, the coalition agreements signed by its constituent parties were revealed on Monday night by Channel 12.

The documents include proposed changes to the country’s basic laws, designed to prevent Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett from bolting the new government and ensure that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot again serve as premier.

One of these laws would require a former prime minister to wait four years before running for any office, including that of a Knesset [Parliament] member.

Netanyahu’s Likud party was quick to criticize the proposed law.

“After Bennett deceived his own electorate by transferring votes from right to left, only to appoint himself prime minister with six mandates, he is now proposing laws that don’t exist in any democracy in the world, with the aim of disqualifying Prime Minister Netanyahu from running for Knesset and thus taking down the right-wing leader,” the party said in a statement.

The agreements also forbid Bennett from joining any other government if the coalition is brought down in a vote of no confidence.

Under the agreements, the new government will be led by Bennett for 27 months, after which Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid will take over as premier. It will be among the largest governments in the history of the state, with 28 ministers and six deputy ministers, though smaller than the 35th government with its 36 ministers.

The 36th government will be first to include an Arab party, Ra’am, an Islamist party associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ra’am will be given a deputy minister slot in the Prime Minister’s Office, and party chairman Mansour Abbas will receive a discretionary [US] $1.5 billion fund for special projects on which he personally signs off.

The Yisrael Beiteinu party, headed by Avigdor Lieberman, has won an agreement to push a civil-marriage law to codify the status of couples who don’t want to be married by the rabbinate or other religious authorities, and the establishment of an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall. The party will also receive a cabinet portfolio unifying the ministries of agriculture, the Negev and the Galilee.

The Labor Party has asked for the establishment of a “Department of Jewish Renewal” within the Diaspora [Jewish population outside Israel] Affairs Ministry to handle issues related to the acceptance of the Reform movement in Israel.

New Hope’s Gideon Sa’ar will serve as justice minister and deputy prime minister. He will focus on splitting the position of attorney general into two parts and preventing the Palestinian takeover of “Area C” in Judea and Samaria.

Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party will continue on as defense minister and will also serve as deputy prime minister. He will establish a government committee to investigate the Mount Meron disaster, the April 30 tragedy during a religious festival in which 45 were killed.

Posted on June 9, 2021

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 8, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

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