As part of the agreement, the Israeli Jewish Power Party will receive three ministerial posts. The authority of the public security minister, who was renamed national security minister, will be significantly expanded, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.
“We took a big step tonight towards a full coalition agreement, towards the formation of a full, all-right government,” Ben-Gvir said in the statement.
Netanyahu’s Likud and its religious and far-right allies won a clear victory in Israel’s November 1 elections, ending nearly four years of political instability. However, his efforts to quickly form a government have run into roadblocks as negotiations with coalition partners drag on.
The new government appears to be the most right-wing in Israel’s history, forcing Netanyahu into a diplomatic balancing act between his coalition and Western allies.
Ben-Gvir’s record includes a 2007 conviction for racist incitement against Arabs and support for terrorism, as well as anti-LGBT activism. He says he no longer advocates the expulsion of all Palestinians — only those he considers traitors or terrorists.
Ben-Gvir, a settler living in the West Bank that Israel occupied during the 1967 Middle East war, opposes a Palestinian state. He also supports Jewish prayer at a holy site in Jerusalem that houses the al-Aqsa Mosque and is a remnant of ancient Jewish temples.
Israel’s right wing has been trying for years to change the legal system, portraying it as an interventionist and leftist roadblock to its legislative agenda. The composition of the anticipated coalition is now paving the way for such changes.
Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and taking bribes in three scandals involving wealthy associates and powerful media moguls. He denies wrongdoing and has portrayed himself as a victim of a witch hunt by law enforcement and justice.
But Israel’s prime minister-designate has insisted that the proposed law changes would not affect the outcome of his trial. While on trial, he is bound by a conflict of interest regime that limits his dealings with the justice system, although it is unclear whether it will be enforced.
(TUSEN with TUSEN and Reuters)
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