Photo Credit: Likud
Bezalel Smotrich and Benjamin Netanyahu. Dec. 1, 2022

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, chairman of the Likud party and Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of the Religious Zionist party have finally and officially reached an agreement in their coalition negotiations. The portfolio assignments are very similar to what JewishPress.com first reported on Wednesday.

Bezalel Smotrich will be the Minister of Finance. Ofir Sofer will be the Minister of Aliyah and Absorption. Orit Strook will be the Minister of National Missions, as well as a minister in the Defense Ministry in charge of settlements in Judea and Samaria. Ohad Tal will be a deputy minister. Simcha Rothman will be the chairman of the Constitution, Law, and Justice committee and Religious Services Committee. Michal Waldiger will be Chairwoman of the Reforms Committee.

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It was agreed that Strook’s activities regarding settlements would be done in coordination with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Smotrich’s position as Minister of Finance will be in (future) rotation with Aryeh Deri.

Under this new government, the IDF’s Civil Administration which is in charge of all civilian life in Judea and Samaria will likely find itself redefined, and much of its authority dispersed to civilian ministries and authorities. The Likud and Religious Zionism agreed they will also work to define a joint platform on Jewish identity, education, law, settlements and society.

Netanyahu said, “This is another significant step that brings us closer to establishing a national right-wing government that will take care of all the citizens of Israel. I thank the chairman of religious Zionism for the partnership and am convinced that we will work together in fruitful cooperation for the sake of the people of Israel.”

Smotrich said, “We are taking another historic step today to establish a Jewish, Zionist and national government that will restore security and governance, promote historic reform in the legal system, regulate and develop the settlement enterprise, strengthen Jewish identity in the spirit of religious Zionism and proudly wave the flag of Zionism, the absorption of Aliyah and society in Israel. I thank Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu for the trust, and my friend, MK Yariv Levin, for leading the efforts to establish the government with professionalism, friendship and fairness. Together we will do a lot of good for the State of Israel and work hard for all the citizens of Israel.”

The Likud has now reached agreements with Otzma Yehudit, Noam, Religious Zionists. The only party left is Shas, UTJ and for portfolios to be assigned within the Likud party.

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