Former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett of the right-wing Yamina party is one of the key figures Netanyahu needs to team up.
Bennett appeared to reject an offer by Netanyahu to run the Premiership on Monday, even though the offer included Bennett first in the rotation.
But even if he changes his mind during the day, that still wouldn’t be enough for Netanyahu to enjoy a majority in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
For this to happen, the Israeli leader must either convince two other lawmakers from the parties who are currently pledged to oppose him or find a way for his allies in the far-right Zionist religious party to agree to join a party. government that would be backed by the United Arab List, an Islamist party led by Mansour Abbas, which they have so far excluded.
If there is no breakthrough before midnight (5 p.m. ET), Netanyahu can ask President Reuven Rivlin for an additional two-week negotiation deadline.
While it is customary for the president to accede to such a request, Rivlin has voiced his frustrations with the procedures since the March 23 poll – the country’s fourth election in two years – so the prime minister will know that he cannot accept such an extension. for granted.
Instead, Rivlin might decide to ask Yair Lapid to try and form a government.
Lapid’s centrist party Yesh Atid came second behind Netanyahu’s Likud in the election, and the former TV news anchor has worked hard for the past four weeks in an attempt to muster his own coalition of allies.
Like Netanyahu, Lapid also offered Bennett the chance to go first in a rotating Premiership that would lead a government made up of a wide range of parties from the far right to the left.