|In a series of dramatic political moves, Shaul Mofaz [r] of the Centrist Kadima party will join Prime Minister Netanyahu [l] in a broad national unity goverment along with left leaning Ehud Barak [not pictured]|
Early Israeli Elections Cancelled, New Broad Coalition Announced -Attila Somfalvi
In a surprise move, the Kadima party under its new chairman Shaul Mofaz agreed to join the Israeli government coalition, hours before the Knesset was to approve the calling of new elections.
As a result, the next Israeli elections will likely be held, as planned, in October 2013.
Netanyahu forms unity government -Edmund Sanders
By joining the government coalition, newly elected Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz avoids facing voters amid polls indicating that his centrist party would lose more than half its Knesset seats.
In exchange, Mofaz has been promised a ministerial position in the government, officials said.
For Netanyahu, the deal means he can retain his government, which many consider to be one of the nation's most stable, and reduce his dependence on smaller nationalist and religious parties...
One particularly divisive issue is a plan to begin drafting fervently-Orthodox young people into the army. Netanyahu and Mofaz both support the move, though the religious party Shas is staunchly opposed and had threatened to quit the coalition if the government adopted it. With the votes Kadima brings to the new coalition, such threats would not bring down the government as feared.
Hanan Crystal, a political commentator for Israel Radio, called it the "move of a super-statesman."
[The Los Angeles Times]
Netanyahu Boosts Israel's Deterrence -Ron Ben-Yishai
The unity deal worked out secretly by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz boosts our deterrence power on the Iranian front and Israel's ability to press the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany not to compromise too much.
Mofaz has served as defense minister and IDF chief of staff in the past, and will be joining the forum of top government ministers - now nine in number - entrusted with taking decisions on critical security and diplomatic issues, providing another experienced hand.
In the final analysis, the formation of the new government boosts Israel's deterrent power and upgrades its leadership's decision-making ability on the security and diplomatic front, topped by the Iran issue.