Netanyahu forms an Israeli government, with minutes to spare

The New York Times reports: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel barely met the legal deadline to form a new government on Wednesday night, and will start his fourth term with the slimmest of parliamentary majorities, made up of right-leaning and religious parties.

Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud Party celebrated a surprisingly strong victory in the March 17 elections after a divisive campaign, but ended up scrambling to scrape together 61 of Parliament’s 120 members into a coalition — and hold on to his premiership. He was forced to make major concessions to the more conservative Jewish Home party, and emerged weakened to lead a government that Israeli experts said was unlikely to last long or do much.

“Netanyahu simply miscalculated,” said Eytan Gilboa, a professor at Bar-Ilan University who specializes in politics and communications. “What you see here is a big political mess that, I think, shows Netanyahu has been too confident.” Of the new coalition, he added, “Nobody in his right mind believes that this will hold for even a short time.” [Continue reading…]

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