All Parties in Bennett-Lapid Government Ink Coalition Deals

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Yair Lapid writing in the Knesset, on Monday.
Yair Lapid writing in the Knesset, on Monday.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/ REUTERS
Updates
Michael Hauser Tov

New Hope agreement includes advancing cannabis legalization, PM term limits

According to the coalition deal signed between Yesh Atid and New Hope, the latter will receive the education, construction and housing, communications and Jerusalem affairs and heritage portfolios. The party will also receive the justice and foreign portfolios until Bennett and Lapid rotate the premiership.

One of New Hope's members will also represent the Knesset on the search committee for the next attorney general. The committee, which is headed by the justice minister – expected to be party chairman Gideon Sa'ar – will advance a new Basic Law that may curtail the authority of the Supreme Court to intervene in legislation. The coalition deal also includes passing legislation to limit the term of a prime minister.

The coalition deal also includes advancing legislation to decriminalize cannabis consumption and full regulation of the cannabis market. They also agreed on the development of northern Israel, as well as the Palestinian territories.

Michael Hauser Tov

Yamina signs coalition deal, capping efforts

Yamina has signed the coalition deal with Yesh Atid, the final party to do so. The agreements have been handed over to the Knesset secretary ahead of the Friday evening deadline.

With the final agreement signed, the new government can be sworn in on Sunday.

The agreement between Yesh Atid and Yamina, which is binding on all parties in the coalition and has therefore been termed an umbrella agreement, establishes that the date on which Lapid will take over as prime minister will be August 27, 2023. That date will also see a member of Yamina taking over as justice minister. The other portfolios promised to Yamina are foreign affairs (until August 2023), economy, welfare, social equality, intelligence, energy and tourism.

The document establishing the coalition's main guidelines meanwhile states that it will "focus on reviving the economy and civil society"; move to limit a prime minister's rule to eight years or two terms; form a committee of inquiry into the stampede at Mount Meron this year; create a plan for affordable housing; setting new regulations for police and bolstering the fight against crime in the Arab community; pass a military conscription bill requiring some ultra-Orthodox men to be drafted; improving the public health system and the education system; forming plans to deal with environmental issues; constructing a hospital in the Negev and in the Galilee; and building another airport.

"Signing brings an end to two-and-a-half years of political crisis," Naftali Bennett, who is expected to be sworn in as prime minister, said in a statement.

"Major challenges stand before the citizens of Israel, and all are watching us with hope. The government will work for all of the Israeli public – religious, secular, Haredi, Arab – with no exceptions, as one. We will act together, out of national partnership and responsibility, and I believe that we can do it and succeed," he said.

Yair Lapid, designated to be alternate prime minister, said, "The Israeli public deserves and functioning and responsible government, who prioritizes the country's wellbeing. We established a unity government for this reason. All of its partners are beholden first and foremost to the citizens of Israel."

Michael Hauser Tov

Kahol Lavan and Yesh Atid decide: Bring remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel

According to the coalition deal signed between Yesh Atid and Kahol Lavan, the latter party will receive the defense, culture and sports, Aliyah and science and technology portfolios.

The parties decided to establish a formal governmental commission of inquiry into the Mount Meron disaster, in which 45 people were crushed to death in a stampede during Lag Ba'omer festivities last month. The deal also includes bringing the remaining Jews in Ethiopia to Israel within three years and legislating the government's national emergency response.

The deal also includes the advancement of equal rights for the LGBTQ communities and couples who cannot legally marry in Israel, public transportation on Shabbat, overturning the law that closes shops on Shabbat and holidays and the Western Wall status quo for prayer, which includes gender segregation at the southern part of the plaza.

As with other coalition deals signed with Yesh Atid, Bennett's Yamina is not a party to these agreements, and is not obligated to fulfill them.

Michael Hauser Tov

Labor inks coalition agreement with Yesh Atid

The Labor Party has signed a coalition deal with Yesh Atid, as the deadline to present the finalized coalition deal looms.

According to the deal, the party will receive the transportation, public security and diaspora portfolios, as well as membership in the security cabinet. One of its members will also chair the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee as well as the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, among others.

The agreement obligates the sides to work towards equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community and couples who cannot legally marry in Israel, public transportation on Shabbat, overturning the law shuttering shops on Shabbat and holidays and changing the status quo for gender-segregated prayer at the Western Wall.

The agreement also obligates the government to make a number of steps to improve women's rights in Israel. These include closing the gender pay gap in the public sector, bolstering the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women and alternative prison sentences for detained pregnant women and mothers.

Yamina is not party to these agreements, which were only signed with Lapid's party, and does not need to fulfill them. After Bennett and Lapid rotate the premiership, Labor chairwoman Merav Michaeli will serve on the Knesset Judicial Appointments Committee.

Michael Hauser Tov

Yisrael Beiteinu agreement includes intent to advance public transport on Shabbat

The coalition agreement signed by Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party dictates that the party will receive the finance portfolio, an additional portfolio within the finance ministry and the agriculture and Negev and Galilee development. One of its members will also lead the Knesset Finance Committee.

The parties will have to "Use every tool at their disposal" to advance public transportation on Shabbat and to overturn the interior ministry's authority to shutter businesses on Shabbat and holidays, although this is just a declaration of intent, and not a binding clause. It also calls to cancel the current Western Wall status quo, in which male and female worshipers are segregated in the plaza's southern compound.

The finance minister, a post expected to be held by Lieberman, is to advance a "comprehensive plan for the reduction and betterment of the regulatory burden."

In addition, it also includes a clause on the matter of religion and state, regarding two laws. One concerns conversions performed by local rabbis, and the other ending the Rabbinate's monopoly on Kashrut certification.

As with all the party's coalition agreements, the deal was signed with Yair Lapid; Naftali Bennett is not obligated to advance it. It appears that Yisrael Beiteinu's agreement does not bind the party to the overarching agreement between Bennett and Lapid, as other parties' does.

Michael Hauser Tov

UAL deal includes massive budget for Arab advancement

The coalition agreement signed by Mansour Abbas' United Arab List party requires the freezing of the Kaminitz law – which enforces penalties on unauthorized building projects, which critics say unfairly targets Arabs – until the end of 2024.

Members of the party will serve as a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office, as well as chairman of the Knesset's Interior Committee (which will be separated from the Public Security Committee), deputy Knesset speaker and chairman of the Arab Affairs Committee.

It also approves a five-year plan to eradicate violence in the Arab community, at the cost of 2.5 billion shekels (over $772 million) for that period. It also approves a second five-year plan to advance the Arab, Druze, Circassian and Bedouin communities at the cost of 30 billion shekels (over $9.25 billion) through the end of 2026.

The parties are supposed to work on a strategic plan to improve public transportation for the Arab public. Another 100 million shekels ($30.8 million) is budgeted per year to "Correcting distortions in advancing projects in Arab locales." Within 45 days of the new government's establishment, the state is to recognize three unrecognized Bedouin towns ('Abda, Khashem Zaneh and Rahima); within nine months the state will present a plan for recognizing Bedouin settlements in the south.

As with all the party's coalition agreements, the deal was signed with Yair Lapid; Naftali Bennett is not obligated to advance it.

United Arab List chairman Mansour Abbas in a press conference in Nof Hagalil, in April.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Michael Hauser Tov

Finalized coalition deal expected today

The heads of the parties of the new coalition – with Bennett at the head as the presumptive premier – are expected to sign Lapid's final coalition deal on Friday. The deadline to present the coalition agreements is 24 hours before the swearing-in of the government, which is on Sunday, and Bennett and Lapid must present them before Shabbat begins on Friday night.

A number of the party heads expressed on Thursday that they will not support legislation that will bar them from serving as ministers or deputy ministers in another government, were this government to fall. This would ensure the stability of the rotation deal between Bennett and Lapid, and keep a secondary coalition from forming to undermine it.

Because at least three of the party heads told Lapid and Bennett that they do not intend to support this proposed amendment to the Basic Law, the two will likely drop the clause on the issue. Bennett and Lapid, being the designated prime minister and deputy prime minister, will still likely be barred from serving in an alternate government during this Knesset term, as per their coalition deal.

The proposed legislation on term limits for the prime minister is also not expected to be added to the finalized coalition agreements, due to disagreements between the leaders of the new coalition parties.

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