After nearly six weeks of negotiations and many dramatic moments, Israel has a new government. The Knesset approved the establishment of a government by Binyamin Netanyahu, along with his choice of ministers and the coalition agreement, with 68 MKs in favor and 48 against. Four MKs were either absent or abstained.
The 68 MKs are the full number of members in the plenum from Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu, Bayit Yehudi, Yesh Atid, and Hatnu'a. In matters of coalition discipline – when the government requires that all MKs support a particular Knesset measure being proposed – these are the votes Netanyahu will count on to pass new laws. The opposition votes came from the parties that were not included in the government, including Labor, Meretz, the Arab parties - and the two hareidi parties, United Torah Jewry and Shas.
The vote was taken by roll call, with each MK announcing his or her vote when their name is called. The vote went smoothly without catcalls or comments, for the most part – except for MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ), who, when his name was called, said “no support for the government of evil.”
During the swearing in ceremony, each minister went up to the podium to declare that they would do their job with loyalty to the state and its laws. After Naftali Bennett took the oath of office, the first MK who congratulated him was Yair Lapid, who gave Bennett a bearhug.
After the vote, the ministers met with Prime Minister Netanyahu for a celebratory meeting, after which they will head to President Peres' house, for a traditional first day in office portrait. The first working meeting of the 33rd Knesset will take place on Tuesday.