CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The ultra-Orthodox Shas party signed an agreement with the Likud-led government Sunday evening, becoming the second party to join the coalition.
Last week, Yisrael Beitenu (Israel our Home) was the first to join the new government, led by Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu.
With the addition of Shas, the new government holds 53 Knesset seats, eight shy of the minimum needed to form a viable coalition.
Shas chairman and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai will remain deputy prime minister in the new government, but head the Interior Ministry.
Communications Minister MK Ariel Atias will head the housing and construction ministry, and either MK Yaakov Margi or MK Yitzhak Cohen the ministry of religious affairs.
Yishai and Atias will sit in the Security Cabinet, while MK Meshulam Nahari will be minister without portfolio.
A Shas MK will serve in the Prime Minister's Office and as chairman and deputy chairman of the Knesset's House Committee.
Shas was granted hikes in budgets for yeshivot (religious seminaries), along with guarantees that the government would uphold the status of yeshiva students.
Monthly child stipends for large Orthodox families will increase by 93 shekels monthly ($23) for the second, third and fourth sibling.
Shas also was promised that the Netanyahu government would "examine the claims of an increase in illegal missionary activity in Israel."
Sources: YNet news, israel national news