Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is urging haredi lawmakers and the United Right party to soften their demands for joining the next coalition government, and expressed concerns over the stalled coalition talks, Kan reported Wednesday.
The initial 28-day period for coalition negotiations granted by the Israeli president ended Tuesday with no coalition deals in sight.
President Reuven Rivlin granted two extra weeks on Monday, pushing back the deadline for forming a new government to May 28th.
With time running out for Netanyahu to secure the support of 61 MKs for the next government, the Prime Minister is pressuring religious coalition partners to relax their demands on matters of religion and state, enabling the Prime Minister to bring former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party into the next government.
Yisrael Beytenu and the religious parties have been at loggerheads over a number of issues relating to the relationship between religion and state, including infrastructure work carried out over the Sabbath, and future of draft exemptions for yeshiva students.
Representatives from the haredi United Torah Judaism faction are slated to meet with the Likud’s negotiating team Wednesday in a bid to lay the groundwork for a coalition agreement.
On Tuesday, the UTJ cancelled a planned meeting with the Likud, citing Sabbath desecration relating to the upcoming Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv, scheduled for Saturday.