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Benjamin Netanyahu Forms New Coalition Government

Benjamin Netanyahu Forms New Coalition Government

Late last Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the final deals to form his new coalition government. The coalition, which has a bare majority of 61 of the 120 Members of Knesset, comprises five parties: Netanyahu’s Likud (30 seats), ultra-nationalist Habayit Hayehudi (8 seats), ultra-Orthodox Shas (7 seats) and United Torah Judaism (6 seats) and center-right Kulanu (10 seats). Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ, sent a note of congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu:

Congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu for forming his government. I look forward to meeting with him in person to discuss issues of mutual concern.

The deep connection between the North American Reform Movement and Israel is an abiding one. Israel's strength is infused by its place in the heart of all of world Jewry, and on its hallowed ground, all Jews should feel welcomed and respected.

We hope that as this new government moves forward, it will take into consideration the values of inclusion and pluralism for all of Israel's citizens – values that are at the core not only of our Movement, but of Israel's founding declaration.

The coalition talks became embattled last week when Avigdor Lieberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu, unexpectedly pulled out of coalition talks and joined the opposition. With few options left, Netanyahu offered Habayit Hayehudi the important posts of the justice ministry, the agriculture ministry, and the education ministry to join the coalition. In return, Netanyahu has called for other parties to join the coalition, but so far none have agreed to. It remains to be seen if there will be more changes to the coalition.

To read Rabbi Jacobs’ statement, click here. And for updates on developments with this coalition, check out our Israel issue page and the RACblog.

Published: 5/11/2015

Categories: Social Justice