‘I have succeeded’: Netanyahu announces he has formed a government

At the 11th hour, Netanyahu told President Isaac Herzog: “I have succeeded in forming a government.”

By World Israel News Staff and JNS

Just 18 minutes before deadline, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu announced in a phone call to President Isaac Herzog that he has succeeded in forming a government.

“Thanks to the enormous public support we received in the last elections, I am informing you that I have been able to establish a government that will act in the interest of all the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu told the president.

He also tweeted the news in two words: Ala b’yadi – Hebrew for “it came into my hands” but meaning that he has succeeded.

Netanyahu will also officially inform Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, as required by law. Following the Knesset legislative session on Monday, after the conclusion of the eight-day festival of Chanukah, the prime minister-designate will have seven days to swear in the government.

After his Likud Party and its “natural allies” achieved victory at the polls on Nov. 1, together winning 64 of the 120 Knesset seats, 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.

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However, the demands of his prospective coalition partners – Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit and Noam (which ran together during the election), Shas and United Torah Judaism – delayed the matter. As the initial 28 days he had been granted to form a government were winding down, Netanyahu had requested a two-week extension. Herzog limited him to 10 additional days.

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.

Religious Zionism won an unprecedented victory at the polls, with 14 seats – the most it has ever had in the history of the State of Israel. The conditions set by the party for joining the coalition will strengthen the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.