Israel’s Netanyahu reaches coalition deal with far-right Religious Zionism party

Israel’s Netanyahu reaches coalition deal with far-right Religious Zionism party
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JERUSALEM, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu reached a coalition deal with the far-right Religious Zionism party, bringing him closer to securing a new government after an election last month, Netanyahu’s Likud party said on Thursday.

Religious Zionism will be given control of the Finance Ministry as part of a rotation, Likud said, though it did not lay out how the rotation would work. It will also have strong influence over policies in the occupied West Bank and the country’s justice system.

Israel’s Army Radio reported that Bezalel Smotrich, 42, who heads Religious Zionism, would serve as finance minister at the outset and will then be replaced.

His party, which opposes Palestinian statehood and supports extending Israeli sovereignty into the West Bank, will be given authority over Jewish settlement activity there, though it will be in coordination with Netanyahu, the Likud statement said.

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