Israeli Prime Minister-designate Bibi Netanyahu is widely expected to tell President Isaac Herzog sometime today that he has successfully formed the country’s next government.
After a victory for his Likud Party and its “natural allies” at the polls on Nov. 1, Netanyahu had anticipated an easier job in forming a coalition, announcing that it would be ready in time for the opening of the 25th session of the Knesset on Nov. 15.
However, the demands of his prospective coalition partners delayed the matter. As the initial 28 days he had been granted to form a government were winding down, Netanyahu requested a two-week extension.
President Isaac Herzog limited him to 10 additional days. That extension expires at midnight on Wednesday night.
The extra time was also needed in order to pass laws necessary to satisfy allied political parties.
These included a law to allow Shas Party Chairman Aryeh Deri to serve as a minister despite a recent conviction for tax evasion, and the creation of a minister of national security position with expanded powers over the police for Otzma Yehudit Party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Those bills, along with one for Religious Zionism Party leader Bezalel Smotrich, are working their way through the Knesset’s legislative process.
In any case, the new government will not be sworn in until next week as Netanyahu and outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid agreed that the next Knesset plenum meeting will not be held until Monday, after Chanukah. JNS