(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, signed the Kulanu and United Torah Judaism parties into his governing coalition. Likud’s remains in negotiations with three other potential coalition partners—Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, and Yisrael Beiteinu—a week before its deadline to establish a government.
Kulanu (10 Knesset seats) and United Torah Judaism (six seats) give Likud (30 seats) 46 of the minimum 61 Knesset seats required to form an Israeli governing coalition. Habayit Hayehudi (eight), Shas (seven), and Yisrael Beiteinu (six) would bring the coalition to 67 seats.
Netanyahu said at a signing ceremony with Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, “We promised during the election campaign to take action to lower housing prices and the cost of living, as well as promote a series of reforms which will continue to propel the Israeli economy. I am looking forward to working together. We have spoken at length about the steps we must take together.”
Kahlon, who is set to be Israel’s next finance minister, said, “The economy needs reforms and we at Kulanu—together with Likud, the prime minister and other ministers—will know how to implement them.”
“In the next government, we will advance reforms in housing and banking, and we will act to reduce the gaps in Israeli society. We are sure we will receive full cooperation from the prime minister and from both coalition and opposition Knesset members,” said Kahlon, Israel Hayom reported.
United Torah Judaism leader Yakov Litzman said, “The coalition agreement is a good one. ... There are a lot of social issues in it, including child allowances and dental care, among other things. There are many rightings of wrongs. ... I hope the government lasts the full term.”