Israel’s right-wing Yamina party will back Netanyahu’s Likud in creating a government, Haaretz reported on Monday.
Naftali Bennett, Yamina’s chair, said he “could’ve already been a prime minister by now”, but that his major commitment was to avoid another election. Israel has already voted four times in the last two years.
Bennett met Netanyahu at his Jerusalem office today and released a joint statement with him saying that they would carry on negotiating.
Netanyahu was selected to attempt to form a government by President Reuven Rivlin last week after he received 52 endorsements from lawmakers.
His nearest rival, opposition leader Yair Lapid, gained 45, while Bennett secured seven from his own party.
Rivlin previously cautioned that “unconventional unions” and “cooperation crossing sectors” would be required amid difficult parliamentary arithmetic.
Netanyahu now faces a battle to convince the extreme-right Religious Zionists to participate in a government backed by the Islamist Ra’am party, or United Arab List.
Although he only has until May 2 to bring together a majority of 61 or more seats in the Knesset, Haaretz said he could be afforded two more weeks by Rivlin.
The paper also said that the Religious Zionists’ leader, Bezalel Smotrich, who vowed not to join a government with Ra’am, poses the biggest challenge.
Smotrich was recently criticized for racist remarks about the Arab politician Ahmad Tibi, a member of the Joint List.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle