Israel to form new coalition government

Jerusalem -

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Likud-Beitenu party meeting, at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem. Credit: REUTERS

A parliamentary official says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign a formal deal on Friday with two leading parties to form a new coalition government.

Noga Katz, a spokeswoman for Netanyahu's Likud-Yisrael Beitenu faction, says leaders of the Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties have given up last-minute demands to be named deputy prime ministers. Those last-minute demands delayed the deal from being formalised.

An official with the Yesh Atid party, Netanyahu's leading partner, said that the matter was resolved, and new coalition partners would sign a coalition agreement on Friday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been formalised.

The new government is expected to curb preferential treatment for Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority and may push for renewed Mideast peace efforts. - Sapa-AP