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When the clock is typing, Netaniahu may have to compromise the coalition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have to form a provisional 60-strong coalition, unnamed Likud officials said on Thursday, in light of the stalemate in negotiations with Israeli leader Beiten Avigdor Lieberman and a watch that highlights his two-week deadline for forming a new government.

The approval for a coalition of 60 deputies in Knesset of 120 members would be possible only if Liberman was absent from the vote to approve a new government. If the former defense minister is attending and voting against a new government, Netanyahu will not receive Knesset's approval. However, he will not do so because he could be accused of sabotaging a potential right-wing government.

Head of Isisrael Beiten Avigdor Lieberman (photo: Ohad Zvigenberg)

Head of Israel Beiten Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Ohad Zvigenberg)

A similar scenario with Lieberman, who ultimately is expected to join the coalition, occurred during the last Knesset. In 2015 Netaniahu formed a coalition of 61 MK and later expanded to 67, when Liberman and his party joined, after long negotiations on their demands.

The current demands of Lieberman from Netaniahua – such as his opposition to the new version of the Haredi draft law, which would free most of the ultra-Orthodox public from service in the IDF – have contradicted those other coalition partners, especially ultra-Orthodox parties.

Israel's head Beiten said he would not meet with Netanyahu or his main coalition negotiator, Iariva Levin, until his demands are met.

However, despite the misunderstandings between Netaniahua and Lieberman, Israeli leader Beiten said on Thursday that he would support two controversial laws that the prime minister plans to launch: the abolition of a law restricting the number of government ministers and the so-called Norwegian law, allows ministers or deputy ministers to resign headquarters in Knesset, while still holding their ministry, so that their headquarters seat goes to the next person on the party list.

Israel's Beitenu officials said on Thursday that Lieberman would support these laws "even if found in the opposition, as an expression of goodwill". Liberman also agreed to support Likud's candidate for state control in an attempt to ease tensions over the negotiations.

Netanyahu delivered a speech at a memorial at Attlee on Wednesday (Photo: Sharon Tzur)

Netanyahu delivered a speech at a memorial at Attitude on Wednesday (Photo by Sharon Tzur)

Unnamed Likud officials said Lieberman's behavior confused Netaniahua and Levin, and that it looked like "asking the alibi not to be part of the government". However, they added that Lieberman is unlikely to join forces with the opposition, so as not to interfere with the right-wing government.

"Those struggling for the culprits if the right-wing coalition is not established should be seen in the mirror," Liberman said on Wednesday after negotiations between him and Netaniahua reached a dead end.

Negotiations with the other five smaller parties expected to join the coalition have so far failed to reach agreement, as the prime minister called their demands "impossible" and "completely contradictory" in a speech at a memorial event at Attle on Wednesday.

Netanyahu said that small parties are seeking "four (government) roles for each of their four MCs" and that "they can not give in to demands that would cause collapse of the state budget and economy."

The United States party's Jewish party postponed its meeting with the negotiating team for the second time this week due to internal differences in draft law from Haredi, and as such, there was no progress as to what the government will get.

Shas is the only party that currently has an understanding with Likud party about the future coalition; its leader Arieh Derry met on Wednesday in Jerusalem with Netanyahu, and officials say the agreement, including three ministries for the party, is on its way to be signed.

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