Yesh Atid boss Yair Lapid told President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday that he had succeeded in forming a government in which he and Yamina boss Naftali Bennett will switch off as prime ministers and also lead a coalition of center, left and right parties become like the Islamist Ra’am party.
Before the new government is sworn in, the law requires Lapid to present to the public the coalition agreements that have been signed between the various parties in his mixed coalition. He has not yet done so and the deal is still ongoing, but most of the issues have been settled.
The general explanations of the agreements, the claims of various lawmakers about the successes in the negotiations and the numerous reports of the emerging agreements paint a picture of political agreements aimed at appealing to the diverse and sometimes conflicting ideologies within the coalition.
Who has what
Under the terms of the new coalition, Bennett is expected to serve as prime minister until August 2023, then Lapid will replace him until the end of the Knesset term in November 2025.
Yamina chief Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid are seen informing President Reuven Rivlin of their successful formation on Wednesday evening, June 2, 2021. (Courtesy)
The proposed Lapid Bennett government is supported by eight of the 13 parties that won seats in the March 23 elections for an expected total of 61 votes in the 120-member Knesset: Yesh Atid (17 seats), blue and white (8), Yisrael Beytenu (7), Labor (7), Yamina (6 of his 7 MKs), New Hope (6), Meretz (6) and Ra’am (4).
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For top ministerial posts, under the emerging coalition agreements, Lapid will serve as foreign minister for the first two years of government, blue-and-white leader Benny Gantz will remain minister of defense, and the treasury will be led by Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor. held liberty man. New Hope Chairman Gideon Sa’ar becomes Minister of Justice, while Yaminas Ayelet Shaked becomes Secretary of the Interior. Merav Michaeli von Labor received the transport portfolio and her party colleague Omer Barlev becomes Minister of Public Security. Meretz boss Nitzan Horowitz becomes health minister, party friend Tamar Zandberg becomes environment minister.
Yesh Atid will start with four ministerial posts and Yamina will get three. New Hope and Blue and White will each have four ministries, while Yisrael Beytenu, Labor and Meretz will each have three.
The top-level security cabinet will reportedly include three Yamina members – Bennett, Shaked and Matan Kahana. There will be three members of New Hope – Sa’ar and Elkin and Yoaz Hendel, along with Yisrael Beytenus Liberman. Yesh Atid will only have one member of the security cabinet: Lapid. There will also be two representatives from Labor – Michaeli and Bar-Lev; a representative of Blue and White – Gantz; and one from Meretz – Horowitz.
Rising Coalition Party Leaders: This combination of images, taken on June 2, 2021, shows (Top (L to R) Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, (bottom from L to R) Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, blue and white leader Benny Gantz, Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas and Labor leader Merav Michaeli (AFP)
Yamina and New Right
At the signing of the new government, just minutes before Lapid spoke to Rivlin, right-wing parties New Hope and Yamina said they had agreed with Yesh Atid on “a series of reforms and socio-economic gains”.
The parties said they had made arrangements for the next government to split the position of the attorney general, who is currently the chief legal advisor to the government as well as the head of the prosecutor’s office; Introducing reforms for criminal suspects under investigation; Transferring responsibility for early childhood education to the Department of Education, which is controlled by New Hope; found a university in Galilee; approve the construction of 300,000 housing units at affordable prices; lead cannabis reform and regulate the local marijuana market; Establish a monitoring system for the maintenance of Zone C in the West Bank, which is under direct Israeli control.
The head of the New Hope Party, Gideon Sa’ar, arrives in the village of Maccabiah in Ramat Gan on June 1, 2021. (Miriam Alster / Flash90)
Yamina also secured an important concession from the center-left in the final hours of negotiations: Shaked will serve as the coalition’s representative on the correctional committee for the first two years of government, replacing Merav Michaeli of Labor, who will take over the last two years.
Liberman’s Yisrael Beyteinu, a staunch secularist party, said it had made a number of agreements on religion and state, as well as the government’s guidelines on the matter.
In addition, it was agreed to promote a national project law as “one of the planned growth engines for the Israeli economy”.
Although Labor was forced to yield to Yamina on the Coal Judicial Appointments Committee, she was amply rewarded for doing so.
The party will chair the Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee; one representative of the party will serve on the Judiciary Committee for the entire term of office of the government (but not as a representative of the coalition); a party member is appointed deputy minister, although the specific portfolio has not yet been determined; two party members will sit in the powerful security cabinet.
Meretz Chairman Horowitz, highlighting the potential for disagreement in the Mosaic coalition, said Thursday that his progressive party’s agreement with Yesh Atid includes a commitment to promote LGBT rights, while Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas pledged to to oppose such legislation.
Speaking to Army Radio on the eve of the Jerusalem Pride Parade, Horowitz said that his party’s coalition agreement, one of the first to be signed by Lapid, “includes a clear commitment to promote the rights of the LGBT community in Israel”.
“It was agreed to recognize the status of unmarried couples, including same-sex partners, as married,” said Horowitz, who is openly gay. “These are things that we insisted on and they are in our agreement.”
The head of the left-wing Meretz party, MK Nitzan Horowitz, will chair a parliamentary group meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 31, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)
Following Horowitz’s comments, the Ra’am leader told the broadcaster that he was not aware of any coalition commitments to promote LGBT rights. “I don’t know, I didn’t see it in the basic guidelines [for the coalition], still in the agreements, ”said Abbas.
When asked whether he would oppose the measures taken by Horowitz, Abbas replied: “Without a doubt. We are a party with a religious background, all of our positions on it are based on faith itself. “
Abbas backed the would-be government late Wednesday evening and founded his Islamist party as the first Arab party in decades to be part of a ruling coalition.
The deal between Ra’am and Yesh Atid includes a deputy ministerial post for Ra’am in the prime minister’s office, according to Hebrew media reports on Thursday.
Ra’am’s leadership, his Shura council, has yet to decide whether the party will enable this article in the agreement and appoint such a deputy minister, and it has not yet been clear what powers or responsibilities the post has, the reports say .
Mansour Abbas, leader of the Ra’am party, seen after the signing of the coalition agreement, in the village of Maccabiah in Ramat Gan on June 2, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni / Flash90)
Ra’am announced his greatest success in the negotiations, saying on Wednesday that the so-called Bloc of Change has approved over NIS 53 billion ($ 16.3 billion) in budgets and government development plans for Arab society.
Bennett and Lapid have NIS 30 billion in unspecified economic development funds over five years, and an additional NIS 2.5 million ($ 770,000) to fight violence and organized crime in the Arab world, according to a statement released by the party after their agreement was signed Society promised.
Another NIS 20 million ($ 6 million) will be invested over the next 10 years to repair crumbling infrastructure in Arab cities and towns, Ra’am said.
According to Ra’am, three unrecognized Bedouin villages – Abda, Khashm al-Zena and Rakhma – are to be legalized by a government decision.
The party said it also won the coalition’s agreement to discuss amending the controversial Kaminitz Act of 2017, which targets illegal Arab construction and is widely viewed as discriminatory by Arabs. In the meantime, an existing resolution to freeze parts of the law will be extended until 2024.