Israel forms new coalition government

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a deal to form a coalition government, according to officials on Thursday.

    His Likud-Yisrael Beitenu party is to form a coalition with the centrist Yesh Atid and Hatnua and the far-right Jewish Home.

    Following January's inconclusive polls, Netanyahu was forced to give up his alliance with the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties.

    Apart from the prime minister, there will be 21 ministers, making it the smallest government in decades.

    Yesh Atid is expected to be responsible for finance and education while Likud will run the interior ministry.

    Once the deal is signed, it will have to be approved by the Knesset, Israeli parliament, and sworn in.

    Adding to the Saturday deadline was a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama on March 20.

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