Israel’s incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a parliamentary majority on Thursday after his Likud party reached an agreement with the Jewish ultra-Orthodox Shas party. The agreement gives Netanyahu control over 64 of the Knesset’s 120 seats.
Netanyahu’s right-wing alliance won a comfortable victory in a November 1 election, Israel’s fifth election in less than four years.
Though the political parties have yet to sign a final coalition deal, according to the agreement, Shas leader Aryeh Deri will head the interior and health ministries during the first half of the government’s term. He will take up the finance ministry in the second half. Deri will also serve as deputy prime minister throughout Netanyahu’s tenure.
Deri, a veteran politician, was convicted of tax fraud last year but spared jail under a plea deal. The Knesset will have to pass legislation that would enable his return to the cabinet.
Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu filed a request to President Isaac Herzog to extend his mandate to form a coalition for an additional two weeks on Thursday evening. Netanyahu’s mandate is set to end on Sunday.
In the request, Netanyahu noted that all the factions set to be in the next coalition have signed letters concerning the division of positions in the 37th government, but there are matters concerning the positions that have not yet been settled.