Some of those smiles are now gone. Likud lawmakers crowd around party leader Binyamin Netanyahu on Election Night, March 3, to celebrate what at the time seemed to be promising results from exit polls. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

At Last Minute, Netanyahu Delays New Government over Party Turmoil

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has postponed the presentation of a new unity government he is to lead. The announcement came as legislators were already filing in to begin the requisite debate before voting. Netanyahu said he needed more time to finalize cabinet appointments for members of his right-wing Likud party, yet it was immediately clear that some of them were upset with what they were being offered – if they were being offered anything at all. The coalition agreement that led to the unity government with the centrist Blue and White party of newcomer Benny Gantz left relatively few portfolios of any importance for Netanyahu’s colleagues. One of those colleagues – who has held numerous cabinet seats in a lengthy career – tweeted that apparently his presence for the vote of confidence would be unnecessary; he closed by wishing all a peaceful Sabbath. The last-minute delay is being viewed as a major embarrassment for Netanyahu, a master politician whose iron grip on the Likud could be weakening.

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