Israeli lawmakers approved the formation of a unity government between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his erstwhile rival Benny Gantz Thursday, paving the way to an end to more than a year of deadlock.
Parliament voted by 71 votes to 37 to back the coalition deal that will see right-winger Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, a centrist former military leader, share power.
The two men have said they will swear in their new administration on May 13, with Netanyahu remaining leader for 18 months, before handing over to Gantz.
The proposed government had been challenged in the high court, with opponents arguing Netanyahu was ineligible to rule due to a series of corruption indictments.
They also complained that certain provisions in the coalition deal broke the law.
But the court ruled on Wednesday evening “there was no legal reason to prevent the formation of a government” led by Netanyahu.
It added that by approving the coalition it “was not seeking to diminish the severity of the charges” against Netanyahu, but concluded that those could be handled in his trial, which is due to begin on May 24.
Netanyahu has been written off by pundits and rivals many times since taking power in 2009, but he has invariably found a route to remain in power.
The new government will decide on the occupation – or the so-called annexation- of large parts of the West Bank, a move successive governments have refrained from ever since its occupation in the Six-Day War of 1967.