Israeli PM clinches last minute deal to form coalition

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Israeli PM clinches last minute deal to form coalition

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has clinched an 11th hour deal with a far-right party to form a new coalition government.

After hours of haggling Ultra-nationalist leader Naftali Bennet broke the news on social media saying “it’s time to get down to work”.

Bennet’s Jewish Home party ( Bayit Yehudi) is the last piece of a jigsaw which gives Netanyahu 61 seats in the 120 seat Knesset.

It came just before a deadline to form a new government expired – seven weeks after the election.

Netanyahu had already secured deals with three parties, the centrist Kulanu and two ultra-Orthodox parties , United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas.

The Israeli prime minister has struggled to put together a coalition for nearly two months after winning an easy election victory, after a former ally abandoned him this week.

Bennet seems certain to push for the expansion of Jewish settlements in occupied territory, a policy which could deepen Israel’s rift over the issue with the United States and the European Union.

In fact his wafer-thin majority will leave Netanyahu and his Likud party vulnerable to policy demands from even his most junior coalition partners, continuing a pattern of instability in Israeli politics