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Israeli parties sign coalition deal
Coalition agreements between the Israeli political parties set to join a Likud-led government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have been signed, Likud spokeswoman Noga Katz confirmed Friday.
Katz said earlier this week that Netanyahu forged the coalition deal with centrists and ultra-conservatives after his conservative Likud party and the Yisrael-Beitenu party, running on the same ticket, landed a solid lead in Israel's January 22 national election for the Knesset, Israel's parliament.
Also part of the coalition will be the centrist Yesh Atid party. Less than a year old, it made an impressive debut in its first election, receiving 19 Knesset seats to become the second-largest member of the new government.
The Jewish Home Party, which supports the expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank territory, also signed on to the coalition. So did "The Movement" of Tzipi Livni, another centrist party.
Livni, a former opposition leader, foreign minister and justice minister, will again serve in the justice minister post. Her party was the first to join Netanyahu's coalition.
The Knesset is expected to vote on the coalition on Monday.
As top priorities for the new government, the prime minister named fiscal responsibility, lowering the cost of living in Israel and containing Iran's nuclear ambitions.