Israel: new government sworn in after weeks of horse-trading

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Israel: new government sworn in after weeks of horse-trading

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Israel has a new government, nearly two months after inconclusive elections left Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu struggling to form a coalition.

Netanyahu has finally done it – just two days before US President Barack Obama kicks off his first visit to Israel since winning the White House in 2008.

Israel’s new governmental line-up includes more moderates than the previous administration.

Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid party that stormed to second place in the elections, is the new finance minister.

Naftali Bennett, of right-wing Jewish Home, gets the industry and trade portfolio.

Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beteinu, which is allied with Netanyahu’s Likud party, is foreign minister.

Netanyahu told parliament: “ Israel will be prepared for a historic compromise that will end the conflict with the Palestinians forever.”

The new government is the first in a decade to exclude ultra-Orthodox Jewish factions – who are at odds with Yesh Atid and Jewish Home on several issues, including the reduction of state benefits for religious families.