Shas signs coalition deal with Likud, giving gov't 53 MKs

Shas became the second party to join Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu's government Sunday night, Army Radio reported just after midnight. Netanyahu now has a coalition of 53 MKs in hand from Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Shas. Coalition talks will continue on Monday with Labor, United Torah Judaism and Habayit Hayehudi. The deal with Shas guarantees the party the Interior, Construction and Housing, and Religious Services portfolios. The party gave up its attempt to appoint a minister for haredi education and instead will receive a minister-without-portfolio in the Prime Minister's Office. The party will also have a deputy minister in the Finance Ministry.