Benjamin Netanyahu has said he has successfully secured a deal to form a new coalition government following weeks of negotiations with religious and far-right partners.
In a phone call to President Isaac Herzog moments before a midnight deadline, he said: “I wanted to announce to you that thanks to the amazing public support we received in the elections, I have succeeded in forming a government that will take care of all the citizens of Israel.”
His conservative Likud party and religious-nationalist parties close to the ultra-Orthodox and West Bank settler communities won a comfortable majority in Israel’s 1 November election – winning a majority of 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
But forming a government was held up by disputes over a package of proposed legislation on issues ranging from planning authority in the West Bank to ministerial control over the police.
The new government – which Mr Netanyahu must now present within a week – will take office after a year that has seen the worst levels of violence in the West Bank in more than a decade.
More than 150 Palestinians and more than 20 Israelis have died in the last year.
Mr Netanyahu said he intends to complete the process of forming his government “as soon as possible next week”.
He will preside over a coalition dominated by far-right and ultra-Orthodox partners that could alienate large parts of the Israeli public and raise the risk of conflict with the Palestinians.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, once convicted of incitement to racism and supporting a terrorist organisation, has been appointed security minister – placing him in charge of the national police force.
Bezalel Smotrich, who believes Israel should annex the occupied territory, will receive authority over West Bank settlement construction as well as serving as finance minister.
Mr Netanyahu – already Israel’s longest-serving prime minister – is on trial for alleged corruption and has spent the last 18 months as opposition leader.
He and his partners are expected to push through a series of laws that will shake up the country’s judiciary and could potentially clear him of any charges.
He has claimed to be the victim of overzealous police, prosecutors and judges and denies the charges against him.
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