Though most media outlets were already reporting that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party had secured the majority of seats necessary to form a coalition government yesterday with the addition of the Labor Party, questions over how many of Labor’s MPs might jump ship made it possible they had as few as 59 seats at the end of the day.
Today the party removed any doubt that they would be form the next government, securing the support (and 3 seats) of the “Jewish Home” party. The addition will give the coalition between 62 and 69 seats, depending on how the Labor factions split.
The religious Jewish Home agreed to join on condition of being given the Science Ministry. The party’s platform vehemently opposes Palestinian statehood, an unpleasant reminder of the makeup of Netanyahu’s coalition at a time when the incoming prime minister is trying to sell himself as a “partner for peace” to the West.
Yisrael Beiteinu, which was given enormous concessions for supporting Netanyahu, will also reportedly protest over the significant concessions given to the Labor Party, which will likely strain the already terrible relationship between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and incoming Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.