- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli media are reporting that Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party has signed a coalition agreement with the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party.

Sunday’s agreement is the first signed by Netanyahu on his way toward setting up a ruling government coalition of hawkish and Orthodox Jewish parties.

Both Likud and Yisrael Beitenu left the door open for Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima Party to join, but that appeared unlikely.

The deal with Yisrael Beitenu names that party’s leader, Avigdor Lieberman, as the incoming foreign minister.

Lieberman has been accused of being a racist demagogue because of his plans to require loyalty oaths from Israel’s Arab citizens. An appointment as foreign minister raises concerns that Israel’s international ties will be harmed.

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