Shas Signs Coalition Deal With Likud, Urges Herzog to Join Unity Government

Shas to receive three ministerial portfolios, two deputy minister positions.

Emil Salman

Likud and Shas signed a coalition agreement on Monday night, formalizing Shas' entry into the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After signing the agreement, Shas Chairman Arye Dery called on Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog to join a unity government. Meanwhile, Likud urged Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett to quickly accept the terms offered to him, citing an unprecedented offer of various ministerial positions for Habayit Hayehudi MKs, as well as a cabinet position for Bennett himself.

Shas will receive the Economy Ministry, Religious Affairs Ministry, the ministry for development in the Negev and the Galilee, as well as two deputy minister positions.

According to the agreement, a Shas official will be appointed as a minister or deputy minister in the Finance Ministry, and will be responsible for the Planning Authority, which had previously been run by the Interior Ministry but was transferred to the Finance Ministry after incoming Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon demanded it. Dery opposed the move, as he was then slated to be interior minister, but has since agreed to forego the Interior Ministry for the Economy Ministry.

Earlier on Monday, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman announced that his party would not join a Netanyahu-led coalition, making a narrow-majority governing coalition of 61 MKs a likely possibility.