President Shimon Peres has granted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a 14-day extension in which to put together a new coalition, after Netanyahu failed to do so in the first four weeks he was given.
Netanyahu used the occasion at the Presidential Residence to criticize the Bayit Yehudi party, without mentioning it by name. Religious Zionist Bayit Yehudi has entered into an informal pact with secularist Yesh Atid, not to enter the coalition without each other. The agreement is forcing Netanyahu to establish a coalition that does not include the hareidi parties.
"The reason I have not succeeded in establishing this government is, simply, that there are boycotts," Netanyahu said. "There is boycott of a section of the public in Israel and this does not jibe with my world view."
"I am doing everything within my power to unite the nation," he added. "I think that we, as Jews, suffered from boycotts. We know that Israel is boycotted in international forums and we protest that justly. The people who should understand this better than anyone are the settlers from Judea and Samaria, who undergo daily boycotts."
"That is why, in my world view, in history we underwent terrible tragedies as a result of hatred between brothers and internecine strife, and when we look around us today and see the tremendous challenges around us – security challenges, the challenge of a holding responsible diplomatic process – these challenges require a unification of strength and not a splitting of forces, and that is why I want to use the coming days for another attempt to bring about a wide government. I hope that the parties' leaders show responsibility."