Netanyahu's government approved by Israel's parliament

Country's 37th government voted in as first act of newly elected speaker Amir Ohana, first openly gay politician to hold position; Cabinet to meet for its first time later in day

Ynet, Agencies|
The Knesset on Thursday, voted in favor of Israel's 37th government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.
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  • The vote was held under the gavel of newly elected speaker of Knesset, Amir Ohana, the first openly gay politician to hold that position.
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    השבעת הממשלה ה-37 במליאת הכנסת
    השבעת הממשלה ה-37 במליאת הכנסת
    Netanyahu government takes its place in the Knesset after vote approves its establishment
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky )
    Netanyahu's government received 63 of 120 possible votes in parliament, the speaker of parliament said. He will hold his first cabinet meeting later in the day.
    The coalition, made up of Jewish ultranationalist and religious parties, has already prompted an unprecedented uproar from Israeli society, including the country's defense establishment, businesses, LGBTQ community, secular Jews and others. The new government has promised to curb the power of the country's independent judiciary and expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank that will deepen the conflict with the Palestinians.
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    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: EPA)
    After over a year in opposition, Netanyahu (73) secured a comeback in the latest election, the nation's fifth in less than four years, to extend his record-setting tenure as prime minister.

    As Netanyahu took the oath of office, more attention was focused on his alliance with Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, two ultranationalist hardliners who have already shown how determined they are to impose their agenda during weeks of fraught coalition talks.
    Ben-Gvir, filmed recently brandishing a pistol at Palestinians in East Jerusalem, will oversee police forces as security minister, while Smotrich's Religious Zionism party will have unprecedented control over the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    Together they have succeeded in leaving Netanyahu, a dyed-in-the-wool security hawk and a scourge of liberal opinion for more than two decades, on the left of his governing coalition.
    "The new government is determined to restore ... quiet and personal security to the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu told parliament on Thursday before his swearing in.
    Its platform, which stated that "the Jewish people have exclusive and indisputable rights" over the entirety of Israel and the Palestinian territories and will advance settlement construction in the West Bank. That includes legalizing dozens of wildcat outposts and a commitment to annex the entire territory, a step that would draw heavy international opposition by destroying any remaining hopes for Palestinian statehood and add fuel to calls that Israel is an apartheid state if millions of Palestinians are not granted citizenship.
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