Lapid inks formal coalition deals with Ra’am, Yisrael Beytenu

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid inked coalition agreements with the Ra’am and Yisrael Beytenu parties on Friday, moving one step closer to building a government.

The signing of the agreements came after Yesh Atid finalized a coalition deal with Meretz on Thursday.

Under Israeli law, coalition agreements must be submitted to the Knesset and made public at least 24 hours before the swearing-in vote. However, with the vote scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday — and with Saturday, the Jewish day of rest, not counting — the parties in the emerging coalition must finalize and submit the agreements by Friday afternoon.

Yesh Atid must still sign and release the coalition deals with the Yamina, New Hope, Labor and Blue and White parties.

Under the terms of the new coalition, Naftali Bennett is to serve as prime minister until August 2023, when Lapid will take over from him until the end of the Knesset term in November 2025.

The intended Lapid-Bennett government is backed by eight of the 13 parties that won seats in the March 23 election, 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 its 7 MKs), New Hope (6), Meretz (6), and Ra’am (4).

A photo montage shows the leaders of parties in the prospective ‘change government’ that Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid announced he can form on June 2, 2021. (Flash90)

In terms of top ministerial positions under the emerging coalition agreements, Lapid will serve as foreign minister in the first two years of the government, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz will remain defense minister, and the treasury will be held by Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman. New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar will be justice minister, while Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked will be interior minister. Labor’s Merav Michaeli received the transportation portfolio and her fellow party member Omer Barlev will be public security minister. Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz will be appointed health minister, while fellow party member Tamar Zandberg will be environmental protection minister.

Yesh Atid will start with four ministerial positions, and Yamina will get three. New Hope and Blue and White will have four ministries each, while Yisrael Beytenu, Labor and Meretz will each have three.

The deal between Ra’am and Yesh Atid includes a deputy ministerial post for Ra’am in the Prime Minister’s Office.

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 Beytenu’s Liberman. Yesh Atid will only have one security cabinet member: Lapid. There will also be two representatives from Labor — Michaeli and Bar-Lev; one representative from Blue and White — Gantz; and one from Meretz — Horowitz.

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