Israel: Bibi bends over backward to form government

Marsha B. Cohen writes: Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has less than 48 hours remaining to put together a coalition government. If Netanyahu fails to come up with a slate of partners by Wednesday at 8 pm, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will be required by Israel’s Basic Law to task another member of Knesset with doing so. If successful, that coalition builder would replace Bibi as Israel’s Prime Minister.

Both before and after Israel’s March 17 parliamentary election, Netanyahu was confident that creating a workable amalgam of governing parties would be easy, clean, and quick. It hasn’t worked out that way. Although Netanyahu’s Likud party itself received enough votes to control a quarter of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the far-right “natural allies” on whom Bibi was counting for a seamless transition to Israel’s 30th government have proven to be the most recalcitrant in joining the new government.

As of Sunday night, Netanyahu had only signed coalition agreements with two parties—the Likud spinoff Kulanu (10 seats) and the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism party. Bibi is still 15 seats short of the very slimmest of majorities in the new Knesset. [Continue reading…]

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