Likud and Israel Beitenu strike deal overnight. Now the majority is strengthened and can count on 66 MPs in the Knesset. Lieberman takes the place of the resigning Yaalon, who left after the controversy over the words of the two army number. Netanyahu threatened with investigation into expenses when he was Minister of Finance.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has struck a deal overnight with the ultranationalist Israel Beitenu, who will now enter government. Its leader Avigdor Lieberman will be part of the executive, holding the post of the new defense minister. He takes the place of the resigning Moshe Yaalon, who left the post in recent days because of disagreements with the prime minister.
Likud and Israel Beiteinu confirmed the agreements making this the most right-wing Government in Israel's history. It will be ratified in Parliament today.
With the entry of Lieberman and his party, the executive will boast today a majority of 66 MPs, shoring up a government that until now enjoyed had a narrow majority in the Knesset.
At the same time another Israel Beitenu deputy will to take on the post of Minister of Immigration.
Prime minister Netanyahu has tried assuage fears over the Lieberman coalition, stressing that peace efforts will continue [in reality negotiations are long stalled] with the Palestinians. The Prime Minister will also continue to "monitor" the policies promoted by the Ministry, which also controls activities in the Occupied Territories in the West Bank.
Moshe Yaalon’s resignation which paved the way for Lieberman’s entry into the executive, was sparked by his clash with the prime minister over the words of the Israeli army’s number two spoken on May 4 last.
In a speech at the Institute Massuah, General Yair Golan compared the current trend in Israeli society to "the nauseating process" of Nazi Germany of the '30s. The words were part of a much broader discourse, but have enraged much of the political class and leadership. They also ignited heated discussion between the prime minister and his defense minister, with the latter's resignation.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu is also facing judicial storm clouds. Yesterday a government commission issued a critical report on alleged "spree" made by the premier in his travels. The story dates back more than 10 years, when he was finance minister. The report is now in the hands of the judiciary, which could open an investigation into the head of government and further aggravate the political and institutional crisis of a nation that - as claimed by human rights activists and NGOs - is becoming increasingly right wing and attacking democratic values.