Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday delayed the swearing-in of the new government, just hours before it was due to take place, until Sunday.
The prime minister has not yet finalized a new position for seven of his close supporters most of whom were ministers in his recent cabinet.
Netanyahu's political partner, Blue & White leader Benny Gantz agreed to the delay in order to give Netanyahu more time to allocate cabinet posts to those Likud members, a joint statement said.
With the postponement, Gantz withdrew his resignation as Knesset speaker as he will not be taking up his new post as defense minister until then.
A significant portion of the posts have not yet been filled, leaving responsibility for budgets worth tens of billions of shekels to last-minute horse trading.
"It's stuck with some of the ministries. Netanyahu has yet to reach a deal with Yoav Galant, Ze'ev Elkin, Nir Barkat, Gila Gamliel, Tzipi Hotoveli, David Amsalem and Avi Dichter," Likud officials said.
Dichter said that he decided not to participate in Thursday's vote on the establishment of the government because he said Netanyahu had not bothered to meet with him at all to offer him a proper role in the new cabinet.
The former Shin Bet chief told his associates: "Such disrespect is not shown only to me, but spits in the face of 130,000 Likud officials who elected me to the top 10 of the Likud."
Tzahi Hanegbi also announced that he would not vote.
With its inauguration, Israel will have the biggest government in its history, ending an 18 months-long political deadlock.
Netanyahu formally announced Wednesday evening in letters to Gantz and President Reuven Rivlin that he had succeeded in forming a new government.
The new unity government will be sworn in after lawmakers vote to approve its composition. According to the agreement, Gantz is set to replace Netanyahu as prime minister after 18 months.
The new cabinet is set to be the biggest in Israel's history with at least 34 ministers, backed by a coalition of at least 72 MKs.
The religious-Zionist Yamina party was not expected to join the new government after talks on Wednesday between its leader Naftali Bennett and Netanyahu failed to yield any results.
On Thursday morning, Bennett launched an attack on the prime minister, calling him "weak" in the face of threats emanating from the Gaza Strip.
Yamina’s Rafi Peretz, however, is set to be part of the new government after meeting with Netanyahu late Wednesday.
Sources say the outgoing education minister was offered the position of minister at the head of a new ministry that will oversee settlements but Peretz had reportedly refused the position.
Among the prominent ministerial appointments in the new government are Blue & White MK Gabi Ashkenazi, who will become foreign minister, Likud MK Israel Katz who will serve as finance minister, Blue & White MK Avi Nissenkorn who will take on the justice portfolio and Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, who has already replaced Yaakov Litzman as health minister.
Likud MK Yariv Levin is expected to become the next Knesset speaker after Gantz resigned from the position on Wednesday.
Labor MKs Amir Peretz and Itzik Shmuli are expected to become economy and welfare ministers, respectively.
Derech Eretz MK Yoaz Hendel will be appointed communications minister. Hendel and Zvi Hauser recently split from the Telem party, which used to be a part of Blue & White.
Blue & White’s Pnina Tamano-Shata will head the Aliyah and Integration Ministry, making history as Israel's first Ethiopian-born minister. Michael Biton is set to head the Ministry of Minority Affairs and Omer Yankelevich will head the Diaspora Affairs Ministry.
Blue & White MK Chili Tropper on Thursday morning took over from Miri Regev as Culture and Sports minister.
In addition, on Thursday morning Gantz informed MK Alon Schuster that he will serve as Agriculture Minister in the new government. Schuster served as the head of the Sha'ar Negev Regional Council, which borders the Gaza Strip, for over 16 years.
Litzman, who heads the United Torah Judaism party and recently quit as health minister, is set to receive the housing and construction portfolio, while Shas leader Aryeh Deri will remain in his role as interior minister.
As part of the coalition agreement between Shas and Likud, the Ministry for Religious Affairs will be headed by MK Rabbi Yaakov Avitan, currently the deputy mayor of Ashkelon.
Likud MK Miri Regev is slated to become Transportation Minister, with Netanyahu reportedly offering her the foreign affairs portfolio when Gantz takes over the premiership in 18 months.
Amir Ohana, currently serving as Justice Minister, will likely head the Ministry of Public Security, which is currently occupied by Gilad Erdan and was for a time slated for Regev. Erdan is headed to New York, where he will be ambassador to both the U.S. and the United Nations.
The Intelligence Ministry will go to Likud MK Yoav Galant, the Regional Cooperation Ministry to Likud MK Ofir Akunis.
Gesher chief Orly Levy-Abekasis, whose political alliance with Labor and Meretz gave her a seat in the Knesset, will head a newly created ministry dubbed the Office for Community Strengthening and Promotion.
Likud and Blue & White on Wednesday evening released the principles of the new government.
According to the document, the government will form an emergency cabinet meant to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and the accompanying economic crisis. The cabinet's work is to establish a “socioeconomic safety net” and special programs for citizens who are struggling financially.
The document also said one of the new government's main objective is to maintain the country's security and stability.
“Out of the belief that the Jewish people have the inviolable right to a sovereign state in the Land of Israel, the national and historic homeland of the Jewish people, the government will also address all issues relating to the peace, security and prosperity of Israel,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the government will push to "strengthen national security and strive for peace, ensure equal opportunity for all Israelis, boost the economy, work to bridge between all parts of the nation, preserve Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, and encourage immigration of Jews to the country, among other policy stances."
The principles did not specifically mention the possible annexation of territories of the West Bank, a step that under the coalition deal can be set in motion as early as July 1.
First published: 11:51, 05.14.20