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Benjamin Netanyahu is ready to present Israel’s new government

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The Knesset speaker said on Monday that veteran Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu is set to present his new government to parliament later this week.

After winning the election on November 1, Netanyahu has been given a mandate to form a government backed by ultra-Orthodox parties and an far-right bloc, with the 73-year-old set to resume his old position as prime minister.

“The vote to form the government will take place at 11 am (9 am GMT) on Thursday in a special session of the Knesset,” Parliament Speaker Yariv Levin said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu said he had formed a new government, returning to power as head of what analysts call the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history.

While the exact line-up of his government has yet to be revealed, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party will govern in partnership with the main ultra-Orthodox parties and members of the ultra-fought bloc of the Religious Zionist Alliance.

Leading voices within the new coalition will include Itamar Ben Gvir of the Jewish Power party, who is likely to be national security minister, and Bezalel Smotrich of religious Zionism, who is set to be handed the portfolio of responsibility for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Both live in Israeli settlements, and Ben Gvir has a long history of using inflammatory rhetoric against Arabs.

Netanyahu has also offered a key position to Aryeh Deri, of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, even though he cannot currently serve in the cabinet due to past convictions of tax violations.

However, parliament is expected to pass legislation to remove that hurdle, with the second and third readings of the bill being given on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Netanyahu, who is fighting corruption allegations in court, has already served as prime minister longer than anyone in Israel, including from 1996 to 1999 and a record 12-year term in office from 2009 to 2021.

His incoming government has raised fears of a military escalation in the West Bank amid the worst violence in the occupied Palestinian territories in nearly 20 years.

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