LIVE BLOG: Introducing Israel's 33rd government coalition
Israel's new ministers have been chosen and sworn in, after six weeks of negotiations; Netanyahu at first government meeting: Perils facing Israel are balanced by opportunities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented Israel's 33rd government on Monday, after six weeks of negotiations over the makeup of the coalition. Netanyahu and his new government ministers were sworn in.
22:54: During its first meeting, the new government approved an amendment to the Basic Law: State Budget for 2009-2012, which will extend the maximum period for approval of the state budget for 2013 to 135 days from the date the government was established. The government also approved the draft law that allows the Chief Rabbinate to extend the tenure of the current chief rabbis. Their tenure ends at the end of the month. The government also approved the appointment of eight deputy ministers.
22:30 P.M. The government extends the deadline for passing the 2013 budget by 135 days.
22:18 P.M. Israel's new government convenes in the Prime Minister's Office for its first meeting. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says when the meeting opens that he does not recall a time with "more perils on the one hand and more opportunities on the other."
He calls for unity and collaboration among the new government ministers.
The composition of the political-security cabinet is confirmed. It will include Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, Communications and Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich.
7:54 P.M. New government ministers take oath and are sworn in one by one at Knesset podium.
7:50 P.M. Knesset votes in favor of coalition, 68 in favor, 48 against, none abstain and four absent.
7:42 P.M. Knesset votes on 33rd government are being counted.
7:20 P.M. MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid) and MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) tell Knesset there is no written or verbal agreement between their parties to work as a team in the new government.
6:22 P.M. MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) tears up the new coalition agreement documents while addressing Knesset. He says, "[this agreement] is the white paper against the Haredi community."
5:30 P.M. Incoming Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) says in his address that like his predecessors he has taken a long and arduous journey to get to where he is today, noting he was a prisoner in a Siberian labor camp.
5:20 P.M. Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On says in her address to Knesset that the new government is dominated by the right-wing. "The big winners are the settlers, who took over the economic and real estate-related decision making. They will continue to transfer government funds across the green line," she says.
Gal-On adds that the new government will fail to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, bridge the wealth gap, and protect the equality of all citizens. "In fact, the new government will do a lot for the settlers and not much at all for the rest of Israeli society," she said.
16:20 P.M. Yacimovich concludes her address with a promise to Netanyahu for assistance if he makes steps toward a peace agreement. "If you reach the moment of signing even an interim agreement and you face challenges from within the new coalition, then you have our word we will consider anew joining your government to enable you to make it happen."
16:13 P.M. Yacimovich attacked the party leaders in the new government saying they do not understand the distress of the people. "The four of you, Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett, and Livni are well-off, come from established families, and have never struggled for your livelihood – capitalists, let's call it as it is. Your approach gave Israel the largest gaps between rich and poor in the Western world."
3:56 P.M. Yacimovich tells Knesset ceremony welcoming ministers: "We are your opposition. Today we are launching the national debate with you, about what this country is, and what is the Zionist vision."
3:48 P.M. Ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism walks out of Netanyahu's address to protest being left out of coalition.
3:30 P.M. Netanyahu begins address to present the coalition ministers, thanks the Israeli public for "granting me the great merit" of being able to form the government for a third term. Netanyahu says the new coalition's biggest goal is to preserve the future of the Jewish people, and vows to represent all Israeli citizens.
"Our primary concern is to guarantee the future of the Jewish people by guaranteeing the future of the State of Israel,the root of our existence"
Netanyahu also thanked the last government for its cooperation, and said he hoped the next coalition would operate in the same spirit. "We have built the defense wall, we have connected the periphery to the center, we have brought home Gilad Shalit," said Netanyahu. "A large part of that success was due to the partnership among the government and Knesset members. I believe the government can operate under the same spirt of the collabortaiton. This government will work to represent the entire population of Israel."
Netanyahu also promised that Israel would work to thwart external threats and try to stabilize the volatility of the region.
"As the prime minster of Israel I don’t have the privilege to neglect the external factors Israel is up against," said Netanyahu. As we work to increase the quality of life in Israel we have to protect life in Israel."
"We are facing enormous threats. Israel will use any means necessary to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of hostile organizations. The new government will work to stabilize the region."
"[U.S. President Barack] Obama's visit will be an opportunity to thank him," added Netanyahu. "This visit will be an opportunity to show our gratitude to the American people."
3:23 P.M. The Knesset voted with a large majority to appoint MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) as speaker.
2:07 P.M. Lapid tells Yesh Atid it must send a clear message to the ultra-Orthodox that it is here to help, not alienate that sector.
"The Haredi community must know that it is our duty to provide it with aid," he told Yesh Atid. "Anyone who says we will take advantage of the situation in order to exclude Haredis is wrong and misleading others. We are proposing a new civil contract that will balance religious study, employment, the civic burden, and Jewish morals."
1:41 P.M. Deliberations on biannual state budget, initially scheduled for Tuesday, will be postponed at request of incoming Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
1:05 P.M. Culture Minister Limor Livnat thanks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for affirming his faith in her and renewing her post. "I see the sports and culture ministry as an important portfolio, and thank the prime minister for the chance to continue pushing these fields forward, and to have impact over the next four years as well, in a way that will improve the quality of life for Israeli citizens.
11:47 A.M. After additional deliberations: Yisrael Beiteinu MK Faina Kirshenbaum will be appointed deputy interior minister, under Gideon Sa'ar.
11: 27 A.M. Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman says his Yisrael Beiteinu party will seek to prevent any renewal of a construction freeze in West Bank settlements. "We are prepared to make gestures, but they cannot be unilateral," Lieberman said. "All members of Yisrael Beiteinu will oppose a freeze if such [a suggestion] is raised.