Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented the 33rd government to the
Knesset on Monday, stating that while the new coalition had an
opportunity to make many domestic changes in the country, the
government's first priority remained protecting Israel from exterior
The new government was scheduled to be sworn in on
Monday evening after six weeks of coalition negotiations yielded a
68-member coalition composed of Likud Beytenu, Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi
Netanyahu addressed the Knesset after Likud minister
Yuli Edelstein was voted in as the new Knesset speaker, replacing Reuven
"As prime minister, I don't have the privilege to
abandon the external challenges to Israel. We must ensure the existence
of the State of Israel. Therefore, the first priority will be the
defense of the country and its citizens."
Netanyahu noted Iran
continuing to get closer to crossing the "red line" towards a nuclear
weapon, and the threat of some of the "most dangerous weapons in the
world" being transferred into the hands of terrorists in a deteriorating
Syria as the main threats to Israel.
He stated that the new
government would be ready to make "a historic compromise" for the sake
of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, but added that the
Palestinian leadership would have to be willing to compromise as well.
leader Shelly Yacimovich spoke after Netanyahu, attacking the new
government as a coalition of rich "capitalists" who never had to
struggle for money and could not relate to the people.
She referred to the new government as a government of "exclusion," of all marginal groups in society.
The Labor leader stated that all of the coalition members shared a right-wing political ideology.
rejected the notion that Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Bayit Yehudi
chairman Naftali Bennett represent "new politics," saying that the
coalition agreements showed the same old fighting for portfolios.
Labor leader reiterated that Labor would reconsider joining the
coalition in the event that Netanyahu was on the verge of signing a
peace agreement with the Palestinians.