Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that he has successfully built a new coalition, paving the way for his return to power as the leader of the most right-wing Israeli government since the country’s foundation in 1948.
Netanyahu made the statement over the phone to President Isaac Herzog just minutes before the deadline at midnight. His Likud Party posted a short video of Netanyahu smiling and an audio recording of the chat.
Netanyahu made the declaration after forming a coalition with the Religious Zionism party, an ultra-nationalist organization led by a Messianic settler, Bezalel Smotrich, who has been granted extensive authority in the occupied West Bank.
According to party insiders cited by Israeli media, the deal includes a proposal for “judicial reform” — a euphemism for undermining the supreme court and other checks and balances.
Netanyahu stated that he intends to conclude the process “as soon as possible next week” The inauguration of the new government is scheduled for January 2.