Wednesday, March 13, 2013

After 40 Days of 'Shvitzing' Netanyahu Forms a Colaition Gov't w/o Haredim

What seemed to be the most obvious option as soon as the election results were announced, has now become reality: Netanyahu has managed to form a coalition government that includes - Likud Beitenu, Tzipi Livni's Hatnu'a, The Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid headed by Yair Lapid.

The disputes and demands have all been resolved and put aside as Likud managed to form days before the deadline a government that will reflect the will of the people - voters on Jan. 22. As much as Netanyahu is concerned he is now in his 3rd term as Prime minister, and on course to become Israel's longest serving Prime Minister ever.According to the agreement that has not been signed yet, Yair Lapid, the big winner will serve as Israel's Finance Minister while his number 2 HaRav Shai Piron will serve as Education minister. In addition, Lapid's party Yesh Atid is slated to get  Welfare and Health Ministry for his colleagues MK's Meir Cohen and Yael German. Ofer Shelah, who is Lapid's closest confident and a former defense corespondent for Ma'ariv will serve as deputy Defense minister, under Likud's Defense Minister Moshe Boogie Ya'alon.

Naftali Bennett, who has earned back the trust of his former boss Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to serve as Vice Premier, Economy and Trade Minister and have authority over the Diaspora and Jerusalem Ministry as well as an expanded Religious Services Ministry that includes conversion, the chief rabbinate and supervision of yeshivas, according to Lahav Harkov of the Jerusalem Post. Bayit Yehudi MK Eli Ben Dahan will be Deputy Religious Services Ministry with all of the responsibilities of a minister.

Bayit Yehudi's  number 2, Uri Ariel will become Housing and Construction Minister, which will include responsibility for the Israel Lands Authority.

Tzipi Livni, who signed the first coalition agreement weeks ago, will serve as Justice Minister and responsible for peace talks with the Palestinians. Her colleague Amir Peretz will serve as Minister of Environmental Protection.

What's left for Likud? Well, Netanyahu is keeping the foreign Ministry for his partner in crime, Avigdor Lieberman, with former coalition chairman Likud MK Ze'ev Elkin as deputy Foreign Minister. Moshe Ya''alon is finally getting his wish become true by being the only candidate who is confident to be appointed as Defense Minister, replacing Ehud Barak. MK's Gidon Saar and gilad Erdan are both eying the Interior Ministry while the remaining Communications, Infrastructure, Strategic Affairs or Home Front Ministries are supposed to be given to Gilad Erdan, Silvan Shalom, Limor Livnat or Yuval Steinitz. Israel Katz is expected to remain Transportation Minister, Yuli Edelstein will serve as Knesset Speaker, and Tzachi Hanegbi is the leading candidate for coalition chairman.