Israeli parliament approves Likud-Kadima coalition deal (BBC) British Broadcasting Company) 9 May 2012 Last updated at 16:10 GMT)
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The Israeli parliament has approved a coalition deal between Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s Likud party and the Kadima party of
The new government will have a majority of 94 in the 120-seat
Knesset - one of the biggest in Israeli history.
The surprise announcement of the deal on Tuesday came after Mr
Netanyahu had said he wanted early elections.
He said the coalition would be "good for security, good for the
economy and good for the people of Israel".
The prime minister also made a commitment to promote a "responsible"
peace process with the Palestinians and hold "serious" talks with Mr
Mofaz about Iran´s nuclear programme.
The Kadima leader was immediately sworn in as a minister without
portfolio within the prime minister´s office on Wednesday, after the
Knesset approved his appointment by 71 votes to 23.
Mr Mofaz will also serve as one of Mr Netanyahu´s deputy prime
Wednesday´s vote followed a lengthy debate in which MKs were allowed
to make short speeches. Some opposition members criticised Mr Mofaz
for what they called "opportunism" and "cheap politics".
Only a few weeks ago, Mr Mofaz said the previous coalition
represented "all that is wrong with Israel", and in March he pledged
never to join it.
However, opinion polls suggested the number of seats Kadima currently
holds might be halved if an election was held later this year.
On Tuesday, the former defence minister and military chief-of-staff,
who became Kadima leader just over a month ago, insisted there
were "times in the life of a nation in which it is required to take
"The time has come to change the agenda. This is a move of unity
which is important to Israel´s future," he added.
According to an outline of the coalition deal, Mr Mofaz will also be
a member of the Security Cabinet and Mr Netanyahu´s inner circle -
previously known as the Forum of Eight. Kadima will also chair four
powerful parliamentary committees, including defence and foreign
The prime minister also agreed to support Kadima´s call for changes
to the so-called Tal Law, which allows ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary
students to defer military conscription. Secularists say the law is
unfair and in February the Supreme Court declared it
unconstitutional. (© BBC MMXII 05/09/12)
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