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Israel's New Kind of Coalition

What Netanyahu Can Do With Three-Quarters of the Knesset

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Shaul Mofaz, head of the Kadima party, right. (Ammar Awad / Courtesy Reuters)

In forming a vast new coalition government earlier this week -- which now includes the centrist party, Kadima, in addition to right-wing factions -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has one overriding purpose: to strengthen his hand on Iran. He now has uncontested political legitimacy with which to pressure the United States against protracted negotiations with Iran and to continue threatening a preemptive attack of his own.

Yet although Netanyahu cares most about stopping the Iranian nuclear program, the immediate impetus for the unity government was domestic: a call for electoral reform and ending the exemption of ultra-Orthodox seminary students from serving in the military. Even as Netanyahu forms the expanded coalition to advance his position on Iran, he cannot ignore these internal issues -- a sign that the Israeli electorate increasingly demands

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