Smotrich and Netanyahu
Smotrich and NetanyahuSpokesperson

The Religious Zionist Party signed a coalition agreement with the Likud Thursday night, giving the Likud three coalition deals, with two more agreements needed before it can form a majority government.

Under the agreement, Religious Zionist Party chief Bezalel Smotrich will initially serve as Finance Minister.

Shas chief Aryeh Deri is expected to rotate with Smotrich, serving initially as Interior Minister, before rotating in as Finance Minister.

Reports Wednesday indicated that the rotation will take place in 2025, and that Smotrich will at that point become Interior Minister, though it has not yet been confirmed whether that date nor Smotrich’s future appointment as Interior Minister are included in the coalition agreement’s final draft.

In addition, the Religious Zionist Party will receive the Immigration and Absorption Ministry and National Projects Ministry portfolio. Furthermore, a member of the Religious Zionist Party will be appointed Minister in the Defense Ministry, with authority over the Civil Administration, the Defense Ministry department which governs Area C of Judea and Samaria - including all Israeli communities in the area.

The party will also receive a deputy ministerial position and will head multiple Knesset committees, including the chair of the powerful Knesset Finance Committee, the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, and the Religious Affairs Committee.

“This is another major step which brings us closer to the formation of a nationalist right-wing government that will serve all the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said after the deal was signed. “I thank the Religious Zionist Party chairman for his cooperation, and I am convinced that we will work together in active and fruitful cooperation for the sake of the people of Israel.”