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Knesset convenes to discuss unity government today (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By YOEL GOLDMAN 05/09/12)Source: http://www.timesofisrael.com/knesset-convenes-to-discuss-unity-government-today/ TIMES OF ISRAEL TIMES OF ISRAEL Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Shaul Mofaz to be appointed deputy PM and minister without portfolio; Kadima to receive three committee chairmanships

The Knesset will meet today to discuss the newly announced unity government, which includes the centrist Kadima party in an already broad coalition led by the prime minister’s right-wing Likud party.

It was agreed on Tuesday that Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz will be appointed deputy prime minister, taking on Netanyahu’s duties when the premier is abroad. In addition, Mofaz will also be appointed minister without portfolio.

Kadima will receive the chairmanship of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Knesset Economics Committee and a third committee to be announced at a later date. Former Shin Bet chief MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) is expected to chair the foreign affairs committee.

The surprise agreement to form a unity government was announced by Netanyahu and Mofaz shortly after the government’s bill to dissolve the Knesset had passed its first reading Monday night, by 109 votes to 1, with Kadima supporting it. The Knesset was then proceeding toward the second and third readings of the bill, en route to early elections on September 4.

Mofaz and his party seemingly stood to lose the most in pushing up the elections — recent polls suggested that Kadima would get a shellacking if the vote were held today — but now the largest faction in the Knesset is poised to have some bonafide influence on major policy issues like the Tal law and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Mofaz told reporters, “There are moments in a nation’s life that it is called to make difficult decisions.” He added, “A coalition of 94 MKs will better handle [Israel´s] challenges.” (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 05/09/12)

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