New Government Still Not Finalized as Deadline Looms

YERUSHALAYIM -
Head of the Yamina party Naftali Bennett and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid seen in the plenum hall of the Knesset, Wednesday. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Channel 12 reported Wednesday afternoon that leaders of the “change” bloc are becoming more concerned about the Ra’am party’s demands, with just hours before Yair Lapid’s mandate to form a coalition expires at midnight.

According to the report, there is growing opposition within Ra’am, an Islamist party, to supporting the bloc’s efforts to form a government unless the bloc agrees to various demands that the right wing of the potential coalition will find difficult to accept.

“The first priority is… to close an agreement with Ra’am that right-wing parties Yamina and New Hope can live with,” the report said.

New Hope MK Ze’ev Elkin also said that Ra’am’s demands on approving illegal construction in the Arab sector “are impossible for me and for [Ayelet] Shaked. We will not agree to them under any circumstances,” Kan news reported.

Elkin, a former Likud MK, is a top confidant of New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar.

If the midnight deadline passes and Lapid cannot form a government, the right wing hopes that two or three defectors from the change bloc will enable a Netanyahu-led government, though it is not at all clear these will emerge.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Yesh Atid has finalized agreements with Meretz, Labor, Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu but has yet to sign agreements with Yamina, New Hope and Ra’am.

With Wednesday’s Knesset session over, even if the change bloc reaches a deal, a new government likely won’t be sworn in before next Monday, June 14.

This leaves the door open for Netanyahu and the Likud to continue to attempt to foil the effort.