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Likud, Jewish Home Sign Coalition Deal

Deal struck two hours before deadline, sources say. Netanyahu gives in on Justice Ministry, but keeps Foreign Ministry.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 10:49 PM

Netanyahu and Bennett
Netanyahu and Bennett
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Just two hours before a midnight deadline, Likud and Jewish Home have struck a coalition deal - paving the way for a right-wing government. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett will release a message to the press later Wednesday night over the deal, according to Channel 1. It is unclear whether this will constitute a press release or a conference. 

The initial announcement includes the fact that the deal has been struck "in principle," allowing Jewish Home to enter the government and Netanyahu to serve a fourth term as premier. 

Among the terms agreed upon at this stage: MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) will be appointed Justice Minister and head the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee; however, she likely will not be a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet.

She will, likewise, not be given the power to appoint Supreme Court and High Court Justices, and that power will instead be transferred to a Likud minister, with Jewish Home and Shas's cooperation. 

Bennett will be appointed Education Minister; MK Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) will become Agriculture Minister, despite demands to be placed in the Justice Ministry instead. 

A Jewish Home MK will also be appointed Deputy Defense Minister, and the party will also be given responsibility over the World Zionist Organization (WZO) Settlement Division, effectively the legal liaison between the government and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. 

Other details in the coalition deal will be finalized overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning. 

Earlier Wednesday, Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu had already appealed to Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog and made various promises; Likud officials stated to Arutz Sheva Wednesday night that rumors of contact at this stage with Herzog are false. Herzog also denied the statements.

He has also reportedly stated that, following the resignation of outgoing Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, the Foreign Ministry is to stay within Likud, and that he may reach out to other parties after the final deals are signed.