Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister-designate MK Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) on Wednesday evening set the coming Wednesday, November 23, as the deadline for forming the next government, Walla! reported.

According to Walla!, Netanyahu also raised the option of swearing in a government of just 57 MKs, comprised of the Likud party, United Torah Judaism (UTJ), Shas, and Otzma Yehudit - without the Religious Zionism party.

The reports follow a stalemate in coalition negotiations between Religious Zionism and the Likud, with MK Bezalel Smotrich, Religious Zionism's chairman, demanding either the Defense Ministry or the Finance Ministry, and Netanyahu refusing to give him either one.

A source in Religious Zionism responded to the Walla! report, saying, "If Netanyahu leaves Religious Zionism out - he is invited to try to form a government with the United Arab List (Ra'am)."

Earlier on Thursday, a source in UTJ's Agudat Yisrael faction clarified that his party will not join a coalition unless Religious Zionism is included as well.

Speaking to Kikar Hashabbat, a UTJ source involved in the coalition negotiations said, "There is a right-wing bloc, and the entire bloc is responsible for the victory, not just the Likud alone. Netanyahu is in charge because of the entire bloc. We will demand that the entire bloc be happy, and if Smotrich is not in, we are not in, either. There is no discussion on that."