JERUSALEM (VINnews) — During the week which has passed since Israel’s fourth inconclusive election, Prime Minister Netanyahu has remained silent, preferring to work behind the scenes in an attempt to establish a viable coalition. Netanyahu depends to a large extent on the decision of Yemina leader Naftali Bennett on whether to support him or to break out on a new political adventure with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and New Hope leader Gidon Saar, both of whom have repeatedly stressed that they will not sit in a government under Netanyahu. Such a venture would require support both of right-wing parties as well as the Joint Arab List, an unlikely scenario. Moreover Bennett and Lapid cannot agree on who would serve as prime minister of such a government.
In contrast, Netanyahu has a viable chance of forming a government if Bennett supports him. This would give Netanyahu the support of 59 MKs and Mansour Abbas, the head of the 4-member Raam party, has promised support from outside the government in return for a number of conditions which the prime minister could meet. Netanyahu has stressed that he will not bring the anti-Zionist Raam party into his government, but may be tempted to allow it to support him from the outside, an option which Benny Gantz toyed with after the second election.
However on Wednesday evening Netanyahu made a live appeal to both Bennett and Saar to “come home” and form a national government with him since “the country has spoken” for a right-wing government which would not be dependent on the support of Arab parties. The prime minister even offered Bennett a generous number of seats within the Likud Netanyahu’s appeal has yet to receive a positive response from either leader. Saar rejected the request outright, stating that he would stand by his promise to voters not to join a Netanyahu government, while Bennett’s party said that he would continue his efforts to establish a viable government, without even mentioning Netanyahu.