Israel’s main ultra-Orthodox party, Shas, has agreed to be part of a governing coalition.
The deal brings right-wing Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu a step closer to becoming Prime Minister. The head of Shas, Eli Yishai, would become the country’s interior minister while the housing and religion ministries would also be destined for Shas members. Netanyahu has until April 3 to form a coalition. The Labour party of Ehud Barak could complete the jigsaw. Although many Labour members oppose linking up with a right-wing bloc, Barak has asked his negotiators to draw up a deal to present to the party tomorrow. Far-right Ysrael Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Lieberman has already signed up, leaving Netanyahu with 53 confirmed seats, just seven short of a majority. Lieberman is in line to become foreign minister.