Israeli parliament approves controversial Netanyahu coalition government

© AMIR COHEN / AFP

Following elections in November, Israel's parliament on Thursday voted to approve a government headed by incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a coalition of his own rightwing Likud party and ultra-orthodox and far-right groups.

Of the Israeli parliament's 120 members, 63 voted in favour of the new government, with 54 votes against.

Benjamin Netanyahu was then sworn in as prime minister.

Netanyahu has granted major concessions to far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies in order to cement a coalition following last month's election, the country's fifth in less than four years.

The agreements, published by the parliament on Wednesday, have already prompted an outcry among Israel's opposition, since they radically alter long-standing policy on defence, security, education and justice.

Top posts in civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank and national security have gone to figures of the religious extreme right.

Israel's new defence minister Yoav Galant is a former army general, a staunch ally of Netanyahu and a vocal advocate of Israeli settlement expansion.

There are proposals to change the "Law of Return" to tighten the criteria for obtaining Israeli nationality. A new law would permit businesses to refuse to provide services on religious grounds. Jewish religious schools are to be financed by the state. And there's to be legislation authorising the segregation of men and women in public spaces.

Shock in LGBTQ circles

According to the agreement, Maoz will be appointed deputy minister in charge of "Jewish identity".


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