Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid on Friday finalized coalition agreements with all seven other parties partner to the new government, passing the last major milestone ahead of Sunday’s swearing-in vote.
The main contents of each agreement signed by Yesh Atid with Yamina, Yisrael Beytenu, New Hope, Blue and White, Labor, Meretz and Ra’am are featured lower down in this article. The unprecedentedly diverse eight-party coalition — with three right-wing parties, two centrist parties, two left-wing parties and one Arab party — numbers 61 members in the 120-seat Knesset.
In a joint statement announcing that their coalition agreements had been submitted to the Knesset secretariat, Lapid and Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett said they had “conclude[d] the work of assembling the new government.”
“The signing of these agreements brings to an end two and a half years of political crisis. We are faced with great challenges, and all the citizens of Israel are looking to us with hope,” said Bennett, who will serve as prime minister for the first two years and three months of the new government before being replaced by Lapid.
“The government will work for the entire Israeli public — religious, secular, ultra-Orthodox, Arab — without exception, as one. We will work together, in partnership, out of national responsibility and I believe we will succeed,” Bennett added.
“The Israeli public deserves a functioning and responsible government that places the good of the country at the top of its agenda. That’s what this unity government has been formed to do. All of the partners in this government are committed, first and foremost, to the people of Israel.”
Some of the commitments made in the coalition agreements appeared to contradict one another, particularly on issues of religion and state where Yesh Atid pledged to advance LGBT rights and public transportation on Shabbat while agreeing to give the more conservative Yamina party veto power on such matters. However, individual party agreements will be outweighed by the document outlining the principles of the new government.
Lapid and Bennett also published a document outlining the key principles of their new government, which include:
– Shuttering the ministries of digital affairs, water, community promotion and strategic affairs, with the latter being folded into the Foreign Ministry.
– Establishing a state commission of inquiry to probe the deadly crush during Lag B’Omer celebrations at Mount Meron in northern Israel in April, in which 45 people were killed.
– Constructing two hospitals, one in the Negev in the south of the country and one in the Galilee in the north.
– Establishing an additional airport.
– Establishing a university in the Galilee.
– Establishing a budget for unfunded students at Ariel University in the West Bank.
– Submitting a master plan for transportation in the West Bank.
– Promoting a national plan for strengthening and developing northern Israel.
– Setting annual expansions to the basket of health services to provide additional medicine, equipment and medical technologies.
– Providing assistance to the hotel and tourism industry in light of the pandemic, including tax relief, flexible furlough policies and compensation for new businesses.
– Promoting a program to eradicate crime in the Arab sector.
– Increasing income support allowances for senior citizens to 70% of the minimum wage.
– Passing a Welfare Services for Persons with Disabilities Law, and encouraging the use of sign language.
– Promoting and implementing reform measures for IDF veterans with physical and mental trauma.
– Establishing an emergency program for women in crisis.
– Promoting the deployment of fiber-optic cables in periphery towns and in the Arab sector.
– Lowering housing costs, marketinh affordable housing and adding 300,000 housing units to the housing market.
– Exploring providing unemployment benefits to the self-employed.
– Instituting comprehensive reform to the Standards Institution of Israel.
– Reducing regulation, removing bureaucratic barriers and promotinh digitization of government services.
– Setting a national goal for raising the number of high-tech workers to 15% of the entire workforce by 2026.
– Ensuring Israel’s national interests in Area C of the West Bank is under full Israeli security and civil control, allocating resources to the Defense Ministry to beef up enforcement against construction violations and illegal takeover of land.
– Splitting the positions of state prosecutor and attorney general.
– Promoting legislation to impose a two-term limit on the position of prime minister.
– Promoting the enactment of the Basic Law for legislation.
– Passing a Draft Law consistent with the outline promoted by the Defense Ministry (during the transition period, the exemption age will remain at 21).
– Examining a new model for national service for minority sectors.
– Increasing Jewish immigration to the State of Israel.
On religion and state issues, the government pledges to:
– Create competition and standardize the field of Kashrut services.
– Reform the body that elects the chief rabbi of Israel to allow for the election of a national religious chief rabbi.
– Allow conversion through regional and municipal rabbinical authorities.
– The committee for the selection of religious court judges will be chaired by Yamina MK Matan Kahana from Yamina and will include a minister from the New Hope party.
– On all other religious issues, the status quo will be maintained and the Yamina party will have a veto.
Yesh Atid’s agreement with Yamina
– Lapid will replace Bennett on August 23, 2023 and will serve as alternate prime minister in the interim in addition to being foreign minister.
– Lapid will lead the Yesh Atid bloc, which will include Blue and White, Meretz, Labor and Yisrael Beytenu. Bennett will lead the Yamina bloc, which will include New Hope. Each bloc will have equal power in the cabinet
– The government will pass a budget within 145 days from its swearing-in.
– The Knesset Speaker will come from the Yesh Atid party for the entire term of the government.
– Additional parties will be invited to join the government.
Yesh Atid’s agreement with New Hope
– In addition to serving as justice minister, New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar will also have the title of deputy prime minister.
– The government will promote a plan to clamp down on illegal Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank (settlement watchdogs have criticized this as Palestinians are rarely given permits to build legally).
– Splitting the position of attorney general into two roles.
– The government will pass legislation decriminalizing the use of marijuana and introduce legislation to fully regulate the cannabis market, including for medical use.
Yesh Atid’s agreement with Yisrael Beytenu
– No additional party will be allowed to join the government without Yisrael Beytenu’s approval.
– The government will implement a currently frozen plan to expand the pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall.
– The parties will work to expand public transportation availability on the Sabbath.
– The parties will work to expand spousal agreements to include same-sex couples.
Yesh Atid’s agreement with Blue and White
– In addition to serving as defense minister, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz will also have the title of deputy prime minister.
– The government will act to facilitate the immigration of all Ethiopian Jews to Israel within three years.
– The government will open a state commission of inquiry into the Meron disaster.
– The parties agree to finance programs subsidizing college degrees for discharged soldiers.
Yesh Atid’s agreement with Labor
– The government will work to advance full gender equality, including in public sector hiring and payment.
– The parties agree to advance the rights of the LGBT community in Israel.
– The parties will work to cancel legislation barring supermarkets from opening on the Sabbath.
– A new department will be established in the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to expand Israel’s outreach with the liberal streams of Judaism abroad.
Yesh Atid’s agreement with Meretz
– The parties will oppose unilateral moves vis-a-vis the Palestinians.
– The parties will advance the rights of the LGBT community in Israel.
– The parties will expand public transportation options on the Sabbath.
– The government will work to address the effects of climate change.
– The parties will promote education of democracy and peace.
Yesh Atid’s agreement with Ra’am
– The government will adopt a five-year plan worth 2.5 billion shekels aimed at curbing crime in the Arab sector.
– The government will promote half a billion shekels-worth in projects to advance the long-neglected Arab sector.
– The government will extend its freeze on enforcement against illegal construction until 2024.
– The government will freeze housing demolitions in the Negev for nine months.
– The government will legalize three unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev — Aveda, Chisham Zana and Rachma.