and Yesh Atid
have reached a breakthrough that will allow them to sign a coalition agreement – both parties confirmed Thursday.
Behind the scenes meetings between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
and Yair Lapid's representatives may have finally born fruit as officials close to the coalition negotiations stated that certain understandings were reached.
It is estimated that Lapid will reserve the Education Ministry portfolio for Knesset Member Shay Piron and the combined health and welfare portfolios for Yesh Atid.
Set for a breakthrogh? Netanyahu and Lapid (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
There has also been some progress vis-a-vis the size of the cabinet, which will most likely stand at 23 ministers and no ministers without portfolio. Senior officials said they believe the agreements will be signed early next week and will be presented to the Knesset by Tuesday.
If Yesh Atid joins the coalition the Habayit Hayehudi
party is set to follow shortly which could see the new cabinet sworn in next Wednesday or Thursday. Lapid and Bennett have an understanding according to which one party will not join the coalition without the other even though the parties disagree on a number of key issues.
Another point of contention between the Likud-Beiteinu and Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi parties was over the number of ministers in the new cabinet and both Lapid and Bennett's demands that their parties three of the senior portfolios.
Lapid previously demanded the Foreign Ministry portfolio while Bennett sought the Finance Ministry portfolio.
Yuval Karni contributed to the report
Zvika Brot and Yuval Karni are Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondents
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