Netanyahu, far-right Religious Zionism party sign first coalition deal
As part of the new coalition agreement, the Religious Zionism Party will be given authority to oversee illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.
Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu reached a coalition agreement on Thursday with the far-right Religious Zionism party, bringing him closer to forming a new government following an election last month, according to Netanyahu's Likud party.
Religious Zionism will be given control of the Finance Ministry as part of a rotation, according to Likud, though the timing of the rotation was not specified. It will also have a significant impact on policies in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli Army Radio reported that Bezalel Smotrich, 42, who heads Religious Zionism, would serve as finance minister at the outset and will then be replaced.
Read next: 'Israel' divided, near point of no return: Officials
"This is another significant step bringing us closer to forming a right-wing, nationalist government that will look out for all Israeli citizens," Netanyahu said.
The agreement comes after Netanyahu's right-wing coalition won a comfortable victory in the fifth Israeli occupation election in less than four years on November 1.
Two days ago, Israeli media reported that Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu intends to ask Israeli President Isaac Herzog to extend the mandate to form the next government, due to difficulties in coalition negotiations.
In addition, a minister from Religious Zionism will be responsible for the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank as part of the Security Ministry's tasks, in coordination and agreement with the Prime Minister.
Read next: With 86% of votes tallied, Netanyahu on cusp of election victory
Netanyahu must still agree with his allies in the two religious parties, Shas and Jewish Power, to form the next government.
He has 28 days to form a government, which can be extended by 14 days.
Last week, the Likud party, led by Netanyahu, signed an alliance agreement with the Jewish Force led by Itamar Ben-Gvir, giving the latter the internal security portfolio, as well as with Avi Maoz (66 years), the sole representative of the Noam party.
On November 13, Israeli President Isaac Herzog assigned former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government, based on recommendations he received from Knesset representatives after the elections in November.