JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a coalition deal Friday with rival parties to form the next government, a spokesman said, in an agreement that was stalled for weeks due to tough negotiations.
The new coalition is the first in a decade to exclude ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties. It includes two new rising stars who have vowed to end a system of draft exemptions and welfare subsidies granted to thousands of ultra-Orthodox students.
Noga Katz, a spokeswoman for Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beitenu faction, said leaders of the Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties struck the deal Friday afternoon after agreeing to give up last-minute demands to be named deputy prime ministers shortly before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. Those demands delayed the deal from being formalized at the last moment the night before.
Netanyahu welcomed the agreement in a statement.
“We will work together in the new government for the sake of Israel’s citizens. We will act to strengthen Israel’s security and to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Israel,” he said.