Skip to main content

Israel's new government excludes ultra-religious

By Ben Brumfield and Mike Schwartz, CNN
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
President Shimon Peres (C) sits with Shas Party leaders at the President's residence on January 31, 2013, Jerusalem.
President Shimon Peres (C) sits with Shas Party leaders at the President's residence on January 31, 2013, Jerusalem.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ultra-orthodox parties are out after years of being in
  • A party that supports West Bank settlements is in the government
  • Netanyahu's priorities: fiscal responsibility, cost of living, Iran
  • Tzipi Livni will serve again as justice minister

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli politicians have reached an agreement on a new government that excludes ultra-religious parties, which have almost always been a part of the ruling coalition.

The main ultra-orthodox Shas Party will join the Labor Party in the opposition rows of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. It leaves the governing coalition with no party that traditionally trumpets the concerns of the poor.

After weeks of negotiations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged a coalition deal with centrists and ultra-conservatives after his conservative Likud Beitenu Party landed a solid lead in Israel's January 22 national election, Likud spokeswoman Noga Katz said.

The Knesset holds 120 seats, and more than 60 are usually needed to form a coalition government.

But Netanyahu has said he wanted to build a large majority, and he has achieved that goal by signing on enough parties to garner 68 seats, Katz said.

The centrist Yesh Atid party, less than a year old, made an impressive debut in its first election, receiving 19 Knesset seats to become the second largest member of the new government.

The Jewish Home Party, which supports the expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank territory, also signed on to the coalition. So did "The Movement" of Tzipi Livni, another centrist party.

Livni, a former opposition leader, foreign minister and justice minister, will again serve in the justice minister post. Her party was the first to join Netanyahu's coalition.

As top priorities for the new government, the prime minister named fiscal responsibility, lowering the cost of living in Israel and containing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

CNN's Joe Sterling contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0233 GMT (1033 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT