Likud, Religious Zionist Party Expected to Close Coalition Deal

Religious Zionist head MK Betzalel Smotrich. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Efforts to close a deal between the Likud and the Religious Zionist Party appear to have made a breakthrough Tuesday morning.

Netanyahu spent Monday meeting with the heads of the likely coalition parties, forming deals to create the country’s next government. Before meeting with Smotrich, Netanyahu confirmed an agreement with the one-MK Noam faction, which will see MK Avi Maoz becoming a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Friday, Netanyahu reached a preliminary agreement with the Otzma Yehudit party, led by MK Itamar Ben-Gvir. As part of the agreement, Ben-Gvir will assume the role of national security minister – an expanded version of the existing public security portfolio.

On Tuesday, the Religious Zionist Party released a statement refuting reports that they opposed the appointment of a temporary Knesset Speaker from an incoming coalition party.

Likud sources have indicated that their candidate for the temporary position is MK Yariv Levin, who is second on the Likud list.

Negotiations between the two parties are slated to resume later in the day.

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