In Brief: Israeli coalition negotiations drag on amid tensions

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Religious Zionism, the alliance of far-right parties widely expected to partner with former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form Israel’s next government, have declared that negotiations were “back at square one” after talks collapsed on Tuesday.

The bone of contention has reportedly been the allocation of ministerial roles to party leaders, with Netanyahu’s Likud claiming to have offered Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich the right to serve as finance minister for half a term, while Walla news reported that Netanyahu initially offered Smotrich the role for a full term.

Much of this back-and-forth during coalition negotiations is pre-planned, as parties “jockey to recieve the best position possible in the next government”, the Times of Israel has reported.

Despite the difficulties, there is very little expectation that Netanyahu might fail to form a government of some kind.

However, such tensions between ideologically aligned parties of the right does not bode well for the prospect of a stable and coherent governing coalition in the coming years.

In addition to the Treasury, Religious Zionism has reportedly demanded either the education or immigration ministries, alongside the creation of a new department with responsibility for West Bank settlements.