Netanyahu's Likud signs coalition deal with Religious Zionism Party

Pro-settler party head Bezalel Smotrich to have control over West Bank settlements and a number of key government ministries; says deal is historic step towards Jewish, Zionist government

Moran Azulay, Agencies|
Israel's Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday reached a long-awaited coalition deal with Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich.
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  • Netanyahu’s Likud Party said Religious Zionism would have control over the Finance Ministry in rotation with the Shas Party, The immigration and absorption Ministry, and head a new "National Missions Ministry.” but details on the rotation were not specified.
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    בנימין נתניהו ובצלאל סמוטריץ' חתמו על הסכם קואליציוני
    בנימין נתניהו ובצלאל סמוטריץ' חתמו על הסכם קואליציוני
    Bezalel Smotrich and Benjamin Netanyahu
    A member of Religious Zionism would hold a special ministerial level position in the Defense Ministry in charge of West Bank settlement construction, which the Likud said would be in coordination with Netanyahu.
    That minister will have full authority over land disputes in illegal outposts, without having to answer to the defense minister which had authority over the military as well as civilian matters in the territories, since the 1967 Six Day War.
    The party will also be given chairmanship over the new Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice committee which will take on responsibility for services to the religious community and will head a newly established Reforms Committee which will legislate changes in Israel's judicial system.
    "This is an additional significant step that brings us closer to securing a right-wing national government that will look after all Israeli citizens," Netanyahu said after the deal was signed. "I thank the Religious Zionism head for his cooperation, and I am convinced that we will work together for the sake of the Israeli nation," he said.
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    סמוטריץ ובן גביר
    סמוטריץ ובן גביר
    Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich celebrating June 2021 election results
    (Photo: Yair Sagi)
    Smotrich also commemorated the "historic step towards securing a Jewish, Zionist, and nationalistic government." He said that he intends to "bring back security and governance, promote historic reforms in the judicial system, regulate and develop the settlements, and strengthen the Jewish identity."
    Smotrich also thanked Netanyahu for his loyalty, and promised that "together we'll do a lot of good to the state of Israel."
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