Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to offer a coalition deal to Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, reports Thursday said. Although he is striving to convince both parties to agree to including Shas in the government, Netanyahu is preparing to form his government without Hareidi parties, at least initially.
A report in Ma'ariv Thursday morning said that Netanyahu planned to inform President Shimon Peres as early as this weekend that he had formed a government, but would not reveal the details of its members. The Knesset will be presented with the government towards the middle of March, giving the Prime Minister more time to wheel and deal. Netanyahu will finalize the deal by the middle of next week, the report said.
The Likud is said to be close to agreement with Yesh Atid and Jewish Home on a framework for drafting Hareidi yeshiva students, the major issue that has prevented the formation of a government so far.
According to the report, Netanyahu came to the conclusion that he had no choice but to form a government without the Hareidi parties after his attempts to break the pact between Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett had failed. Both had pledged not to enter the government without the other. The report added that Netanyahu's top advisors had already told him several days ago that the only way he would be able to create a government was to forgo the participation of Hareidi parties at this point.
Negotiating teams from Yesh Atid and Jewish Home will meet with Likud/Yisrael Beteinu negotiators on Thursday. This will be the first meeting between Yesh Atid and Likud/Yisrael Beteinu negotiators in a week and a half.