Olmert puts together coalition government
After three weeks of negotiations, Israel's interim premier put together a coalition government Monday that backs his plan to pull out of wide sections of the West Bank. According to the AP, Ehud Olmert revealed key Cabinet appointments, naming Tzipi Livni, a rising star in Israeli politics, as vice premier and foreign minister. Livni, 47, had served as acting foreign minister in recent months.
Outgoing Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz got the transportation portfolio.
Coalition talks ended late Sunday when Olmert informed President Moshe Katsav that he had formed a government that controls a majority in parliament. The agreement signed with the ultra-Orthodox Shas party late Sunday, along with support from the left-center Labor Party and from the Pensioners' Party, gives Olmert a majority of 67 in the 120-seat parliament.