Deri and Smotrich
Deri and SmotrichYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to resolve the dispute with Religious Zionism party chairman Bezalel Smotrich, who wants either the defense portfolio or the finance portfolio in the upcoming government.

Commentator Amit Segal reported this evening (Monday) that Netanyahu met during the day for a long meeting with Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri and attempted to convince him to accept the post of Defense Minister instead of being named as Finance Minister. Deri has yet to respond to Netanyahu's offers.

Sources close to Smotrich said that the Religious Zionism party leader would prefer the finance portfolio to the defense portfolio. He and Netanyahu have not met in the last two days.

Smotrich will deliver a statement to the media tomorrow (Tuesday).

Netanyahu is also facing difficulties with the haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party, which is claiming that the prime minister-designate made many promises to it which he is dragging his feet on delivering on.

Due to the challenges with UTJ and Religious Zionism, it is currently believed that the process of forming the government will take longer than Netanyahu, who had wanted to swear-in the government as early as this week, had hoped. It may take more than two weeks for Netanyahu to reach a final agreement with all coalition parties.