Minister Silvan Shalom
Minister Silvan Shalom Flash 90

With 18 days since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was handed the mandate to form the next government, Likud is under pressure to finalize agreements with their coalition partners. 

But Development of the Negev and Galilee Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) stressed during Channel Ten's "Central Headquarters" program on Saturday night that a Likud-led coalition would be completed within the time remaining under Israeli law. 

"At this moment, it's not clear who is under more pressure - those trying to form the government or those who are supposed to join," Shalom said. 

According to Shalom, most ministerial posts have been decided except for the dispute between Yisrael Beytenu's Avigdor Liberman and Jewish Home's Naftali Bennett over the foreign affairs portfolio. 

The Likud minister also addressed rumors of a unity government, and did not rule out the possibility of Labor joining a Likud-led coalition. 

"When we talk about forming a government of 'natural partners' we see this is a government that can last four years," Shalom asserted. "I've always been an advocate of a government with Labor, but this time it seems unlikely."

"They have not stated when they would request [to join] and there is not guarantee they won't leave the coalition in the middle," he added.

Shalom also noted that despite his belief in a broad national consensus, it did not appear Labor would agree to Likud's basic guidelines regarding the peace process, which he added, was more of a problem for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to solve. 

"I don't think Abu Mazen has abandoned his course [of unilateral moves], and therefore it's not up to us," he said. But, "if the Left will agree to [Likud's] guidelines, they are welcome to join" the government.