Israeli far-right leader Ben-Gvir gets national security minister post in Likud coalition deal

© Abir Sultan/Pool via Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative Likud party on Friday signed its first coalition deal with the Jewish Power party with the far-right party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir getting the newly created position of national security minister.

As a part of the agreement, Israel's Jewish Power party will receive three ministerial positions. The authority of the public security minister, which was renamed national security minister, will be substantially expanded, according to the Israeli daily, Haaretz.

"We took a big step tonight toward a full coalition agreement, toward forming a fully, fully right-wing government," Ben-Gvir said in the statement.

Netanyahu's Likud and its religious and far-right allies won a clear victory in Israel's November 1 election, ending nearly four years of political instability. His efforts to quickly form a government have hit roadblocks, however, as negotiations with coalition partners drag on.

The incoming government look set to be the most right-wing in Israel's history, forcing Netanyahu into a diplomatic balancing act between his coalition and Western allies.

Ben-Gvir's record includes a 2007 conviction for racist incitement against Arabs and support for terrorism, as well as anti-LGBT activism. He says he no longer advocates expulsion of all Palestinians – only those he deems traitors or terrorists.

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