As part of the controversial coalition agreement, Soviet born Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman accepts Netanyahu’s offer to become Minister of Defense, replacing former General Moshe Ya’alon. Lieberman’s right-wing party gives Netanyahu’s coalition a majority 66 of 120 seats in the Knesset. As a result of his removal, Ya’alon, a member of the Likud party resigns from the Knesset. Ya’alon had recently supported IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen Yair Golan, a vocal detractor of Netanyahu and his government’s policies. In the longer term, Netanyahu’s government has a greater chance of passing the budget in fall 2016, and withstanding pressures that might otherwise crack the coalition over external issues related to Iran, Syria, or the negotiating process with the Palestinians.
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