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Government deadlock continues in Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives an address from his office in Jerusalem on 3 April 2019, announcing that the remains of Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel, a soldier missing since the 1982 Lebanon war, had been returned to the country. [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]

Five right-wing parties in the Knesset decided to form a minority government under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to local news reports Friday, Anadolu reports.

Representatives from the parties gathered to discuss the formation of a coalition government in West Jerusalem.

Former defence chief Avigdor Lieberman’s right-wing nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), represented by five lawmakers, did not attend the meeting.

The parties are currently represented by 60 lawmakers of 120 in parliament. As they failed to gain 61 seats, essential for a vote of confidence, they decided to form a minority government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as leader.

Liberman was urged to support the minority government by right-wing parties but he wants it mandated that Ultra-Orthodox Jews be recruited in the army.

Read: Israel allows armoured vehicles into West Bank

His party, which did not respond to the call, announced it would not support the coalition unless legislation was enacted to that cause.

Political experts argue the formation of the government could end in deadlock unless Liberman retreats. Furthermore, the coalition is not likely to attract the support of parties linked to Ultra-Orthodox Jews — the Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) –that each has eight seats.

Notably, Netanyahu has to convince Liberman by May 28 to form a coalition government. If he fails, President Reuven Rivlin will discuss with parliament the government formation.

The Blue and White Party, led by Benn Grantz, is not likely to be supported by right-wing parties that hold the majority in the parliament. Even if he is assigned to form a government by the president, it will not be an easy task for him to be supported by 61 lawmakers.

In 2018, the Israeli government brought the recruitment of Ultra-Orthodox Jews to its agenda, however, the draft resolution — which also sought to increase the number of soldiers of the Israeli army — was not submitted to parliament due to the cracks in the coalition led by Netanyahu.

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