Netanyahu brings parties to accord, paves way for formation of new Israeli government
By The Washington Post
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013, 10:03 p.m.
JERUSALEM — After weeks of tough bargaining, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a coalition agreement with his two major partners, politicians said, paving the way for the formation of a new Israeli government days before a visit by President Obama.
But the signing of the accord was delayed on Thursday when the two parties accused Netanyahu of reneging on a promise to name their leaders as deputy prime ministers. Efforts were under way to resolve the dispute, and commentators said it was not expected to be a deal-breaker.
The agreement awards important cabinet posts to the two party leaders who emerged as rising stars in the Israeli election in January: Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party, the second largest in parliament, and Naftali Bennett of the right-wing Jewish Home faction.
Their alliance in coalition talks compelled Netanyahu to meet many of their demands and exclude ultra-Orthodox parties that have been part of successive Israeli governments for decades.
Those parties have used their influence to secure funding for religious schools, seminaries and other institutions, allocations that may now be slashed.
The makeup of the coalition, headed by an electorally weakened Netanyahu, sent conflicting signals regarding prospects for movement in peace efforts with the Palestinians, an issue that is expected to be high on Obama's agenda during his meetings here next week.
Coalition accords with Yesh Atid and the small Hatnua faction led by former foreign minister Tzipi Livni call for a resumption of peace talks, but key posts were awarded to Jewish Home, putting its officials in positions where they can promote expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Lapid, a newcomer to politics who made domestic reforms the focus of his election campaign, will become finance minister, and his party also will control the Education Ministry, where it could curb funding of ultra-Orthodox schools.
Bennett, another political novice, will be minister of economy and trade. His party also will control the Construction and Housing Ministry, which plays a key role in building settlements.
In addition, Jewish Home will chair the important Finance Committee in parliament, which wields significant influence over budget appropriations.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. to release $450M for Iran
- Chaos prevailed on bridge as South Korean ferry listed, crewman says
- Putin’s national address to Russians raises fears of possible incursion into southeastern Ukraine
- Afghan officials say detainment of Taliban commander thwarts peace process
- Expert witness for Pistorius blistered again
- Seabed data analyzed; oil discounted
- Taliban drop ceasefire, put Pakistani peace talks in doubt
- Detection of Malaysian jet signal in ocean up to 5
- Ex-foreign minister in front in Afghan election; early results portend runoff
- Missing plane’s black box batteries feared to have died
- Australia PM confident sounds from black box