Representatives of the Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and the Finance Ministry reached an agreement overnight that will enable a signing ceremony on a new coalition deal that was expected to take place on Wednesday morning.
The deal includes an allocation of nearly NIS 1.5 billion for pensions for disadvantaged retirees.The head of the Yisrael Beytenu negotiating team, Jerusalem city councilman Moshe Lion said on Tuesday that a signing “is a possibility.” The head of the Likud negotiating team Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said "over the course of the night we succeeded in reaching the final agreements on issues that remained in dispute between Yisrael Beytenu and the Finance Ministry. This agreement will better the lives of all Israeli citizens, and I welcome that.""Widening the government by adding Yisael Beytenu to a nationalist coalition is an important step that was necessary to guarantee the civility of the coalition and to continue work of the government according to its policies," he added. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who would attend any signing ceremony, attended a soccer game Tuesday night, rather than the coalition negotiations, but joined the discussions following the completion of the game.Any agreement has to be approved by the Knesset, after being submitted 24 hours in advance for the MKs to review it. The Knesset, which just returned from its extended Passover recess Monday, will be dissolved for the rest of the week early Wednesday, due to the observance of the Lag Ba’omer holiday. The Knesset plenum will reconvene Monday afternoon, when there will likely be a vote, followed by a swearing- in ceremony for Liberman and incoming Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver.There will however be a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday for two new MKs: Yehuda Glick (Likud), who replaced former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, and Ya’acov Asher, who will replace Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism).Likud MK Miki Zohar, who considered quitting the Knesset for personal reasons, informed Netanyahu Tuesday that at the prime minister’s request, he would remain an MK. He said overtures from Netanyahu and Likud central committee members persuaded him to put his own financial situation aside and continue serving the public.Likud officials said signing a deal with Yisrael Beytenu would not be delayed by the objections of Bayit Yehudi, whose leader Naftali Bennett is demanding a change in how the security cabinet functions, in return for the votes of his party’s eight MKs in favor of the deal.Channel 2 reported Tuesday night that on four separate occasions, Bennett requested information on Iran from the National Security Council ahead of meetings of the security cabinet.Sources close to Bennett responded that the National Security Council works for Netanyahu, and that “if Netanyahu fought Hamas the way he fights Bayit Yehudi, Israel’s situation would be much better.”Likud Minister Yariv Levin said the Bennett's demand was being taken seriously and was an important issue, but urged Bennett to back down."Preventing the formation of right-wing government is not the way to solve this problem," Levin told Israel Radio Wednesday morning.