Netanyahu to delay swearing in of government: media

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to delay the swearing in of his new government to satisfy members of his Likud party seeking cabinet posts, media reported Friday.

After six weeks of intensive negotiations, Netanyahu on Thursday signed a deal with the far-right Jewish Home party to forge a new coalition government which he had hoped to submit to parliament on Monday.

With a slim majority of 61 of the Knesset's 120 seats and facing frustration from Likud members, Netanyahu is now expected to push back the swearing-in ceremony to Wednesday, media said.

The prime minister will reportedly seek to scrap a law limiting the number of cabinet ministers to 18 in order to satisfy everyone.

Newspapers said on Friday that Netanyahu was concerned that Likud parliamentarians upset at not having secured a portfolio in the new government could gang up and vote against the cabinet at the Knesset.

Druze Likud lawmaker Ayoub Kara has set the tone saying "there will be surprises" if Netanyahu does not give a portfolio to a member of his community.

It was "inconceivable" for there to be no Druze in the cabinet lineup, he was quoted as saying in several newspapers.

The law limiting to 18 the number of ministers in government was approved in 2014 in a bid to reduce public spending.

In 2009-2013, Netanyahu led a 30-member government, the largest in the history of Israel.

According to media, the cabinet is expected to vote Sunday on an amended law which would be submitted to the Knesset the next day.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu would officially announce the cabinet composition, media said, adding that the final lineup could include 20 or more ministers.