Jerusalem, Nov 25 (EFE).- Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party on Friday struck a deal to govern in Israel with the far-right leader of the Jewish Power party, Itamar Ben Gvir, who will hold the newly created role of national security minister.
The incoming coalition government will place three parties of the Religious Zionism alliance — two of which are ultra-Orthodox suits, Shas and United Torah Judaism (JUT), and have overtly anti-Arab views — in power.
“This is a big step toward signing a full coalition agreement and establishing a full right-wing government,” Gvir said in a statement Friday.
Jewish supremacist Gvir, in his new role, will manage and regulate the new settlements in the occupied West Bank with a budget of 2,000 million shekels ($575,473) per year.
The parties signed an annex to a coalition deal, though not yet the full agreement itself, detailing what Gvir’s party will be handed.
Jewish Power will hold the heritage portfolio, the role of deputy minister of the economy, chairmanship of the Knesset’s public security committee, and rotating chairmanship of the special committee for the Israeli citizens’ fund (which oversees state revenue from gas extraction).
Under the newly established national security ministry, Gvir will have powers to create a large-scale national guard and expand the mobilization of West Bank border police reservists.
Protracted negotiations dashed Netanyahu’s hopes of quickly forming a government after the bloc he leads won a 64-seat majority in a Knesset of 120 lawmakers in the November 1 elections.
He now has 28 days to form a government after Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, on November, 13 entrusted him with the task as the most-voted candidate.
Talks have run into obstacles due to, at times, conflicting demands from his far-right and ultra-Orthodox associates.
Although an agreement has not yet been penned, Shas is expected to receive the interior and health and welfare ministries, according to local media.
But talks with the leader of Religious Zionism, Bezalel Smotrich, who has been brokering to secure the defense and finance ministries — believed to be on Netanyahu’s list of desired portfolios — have stalled.
According to the media, the parties have agreed that Smotrich will take finance — although it has not been formally disclosed — after pressure from the United States, which was against the far-right politician taking the defense ministry, which oversees affairs in the occupied West Bank as well as regional geostrategic issues.
The other Haredi party, JUT, will likely take the housing and social equality ministries, although this is also to be confirmed. EFE