The new Israeli government, which will be led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has placed the expansion of settlements in the West Bank at the top of its list of priorities, the day before taking office.
The Likud party released, this Wednesday, the political guidelines of the new Government, stating that it will “advance and develop settlements in all parts of Israel – in the Galilee, Negev, Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria” – the biblical names for the West Bank.
Netanyahu informed, on Tuesday, the speaker of the parliament (Knesset) that he had the necessary support to form a government, the most ultranationalist and religious in the history of Israel.
Netanyahu’s Likud party will form a coalition with three far-right parties and two ultra-Orthodox parties.
After this information to Parliament, the process for the inauguration officially begins, which was called for Thursday morning.
Likud and the United Torah Judaism party (the latter formed by two ultra-Orthodox political parties, Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah) signed the coalition agreement this Wednesday, after several days of disputes.
Although details have not yet been officially advanced, the Israeli press reported that the agreement includes a series of changes regarding the role of religion in the State, including the obligation to separate men and women at public events.
Likewise, all MPs in the ultra-Orthodox party are expected to be given some sort of post, including party leader Yitzhak Goldknopf, who will be housing minister, and Meir Porush, who will take over Jerusalem Affairs.
On Tuesday, the leaders of the parties that will be in the opposition met in the Knesset and published a joint statement, in which they promise to collaborate to face a government that they consider too religious and extremist.
“We will collaborate to fight a retrograde and anti-democratic government that is being created and that wants to dismantle Israel from within”, can be read, in the document signed by Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Benny Gantz (National Unity), Merav Michaeli ( Labor Party), Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Mansur Abbas (Raam).
“We promise that when we return to power, we will repeal extremist legislation that undermines democracy, security and the economy of Israeli society,” they added.
In the November 1 legislative elections, Netanyahu and his allies won a majority of 64 of the 120 parliamentary seats in the Knesset and the Likud leader began by promising to form a coalition quickly.
The process turned out, however, to be more complicated than anticipated, in part because Likud’s ultra-Orthodox and far-right partners demanded firm guarantees about the future government project.