Israeli government coalition accord ready for signing
Two days short of his second deadline, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday wound up long and arduous negotiations for a coalition government with four parties, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (Future), Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi, Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah and Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima.
The two political tyros, Lapid of Yesh Atid and Bennett of Habayit Hayehudi, proved to be skilled negotiators and, notwithstanding their inexperience, Lapid won three portfolios for his party and the Finance Ministry for himself; Bennett, Economy and Trade and the Knesset Finance Committee for his party. Rabbi Shay Piron of Yesh Atid wrested the coveted Education Ministry from Likud’s Gideon Sahar, who is bidding for Interior. Livni takes Justice.
Netanyahu’s Llikud-Israel Beitenu retains the post of Knesset Speaker which is assigned to Yuly Edelstein.
This will be the first Israeli government coalition without any ultra-religious parties, They join Labor on the opposition benches.