Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu seals alliance deals with religious, right-wing allies

© Reuters. Israel’s Prime Minister-designated Benjamin Netanyahu reads, as right-wing Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir walks past at the plenary assembly in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem December 28, 2022. REUTERS / Ammar Awad

By Maayan Lubell

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has finalized coalition agreements with allied parties, their spokesman said on Wednesday, in the final steps towards a return to politics. as the head of one of the most right-wing governments in Israel’s history.

Mr. Netanyahu, whose bloc of nationalist and religious parties won a clear election last month, is expected to be sworn in as his new government on Thursday after the party His Likud completed the remaining two agreements.

But even before the start of his record sixth term, Mr. Netanyahu sought to quell concerns at home and abroad that his emerging government would jeopardize minority rights, hurting minority rights. harm the judiciary and exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians.

The coalition agreement with the pro-settler religious Zionist and ultra-Orthodox UTJ has yet to be officially announced, but leaked terms, recent legislation, and member statements Future alliances in the past few weeks have been widely criticized.

The bill approved on Tuesday would finally allow the pro-settler Zionist party to assume the post of second minister in the Ministry of Defense, giving the party broad powers over opening expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank – land where Palestinians were seeking a state.

US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and their revival seems unlikely, with some members of religious Zionism advocating support the annexation of the West Bank, where Israel cites historical and biblical ties.

The next law, to be put to a vote on Wednesday, would give new powers to the police to Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the far-right Jewish Power party, as minister of national security.

Potential coalition members’ pledges to limit the Supreme Court’s powers, anti-gay statements and calls to allow a business to deny service to people on religious grounds, have prompted Israelis freedom as well as Western allies warn.

In statements and interviews abroad, Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he will defend civil rights, will not allow any harm to the country’s Arab minority or LGBTQ community and the pursuit of peace.

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