The Likud and Religious Zionist parties announced early Tuesday morning that they made progress in negotiations overnight and are on the threshold of signing an agreement, and have agreed on most issues. The negotiations will continue tomorrow.
The two parties also said that, contrary to publications, the Religious Zionist Party is not opposed to the appointment of a temporary Knesset Speaker and it agreed to Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu's request for the appointment of a temporary Knesset Speaker immediately.
On Monday, the chairman of Otzma Yehudit Itamar Ben Gvir criticized the chairman of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, and said at the faction's meeting: "We must start governing and forming a government now - and that starts with the replacement of the Knesset Speaker. I understand that there are factions that are not ready to allow the necessary majority for this at the moment, I call on everyone to mobilize to replace [the Speaker]. We have been waiting for this for a year and a half - let's not miss the opportunity.''
Meanwhile, tensions were felt on Monday between Shas chairman Aryeh Deri and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu. Kan 11 News reported that Deri shouted at Netanyahu after the Likud Party was accused of delaying the vote for the next Speaker of the Knesset.
Deri reportedly called Netanyahu and shouted: "I gave up the finance portfolio that was close to my heart, and later also the Negev and the Galilee in order to allow the sighing of a deal with Otzma Yehudit. You are going back on your agreements and this is causing a crisis of confidence with us. Shas promised a right-wing government and it will support the government, but if you don't meet your commitments, we will give up on all positions and support the government from the outside."
Sources in Shas said there is a major crisis of trust between Deri and Netanyahu after the Likud has used every opportunity to seek to change the details of the agreements being negotiated with Shas. The party is also furious at the concessions it was forced to make so the Likud could reach agreements with the Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionist parties, the latter of which has not even reached an agreement with Likud yet.
Earlier, Deri said at the weekly Shas faction meeting: "Unfortunately, not everyone internalized that Shas received only 11 seats. I want to say: If we hadn't made concessions in the last two weeks, we wouldn't have reached the summary stage. However, we are not close to signing [an agreement]."
"We were close to finishing a few days ago, but there was a setback in the negotiations. I don't want to threaten, but I say that we need to decide how much more we can give up in order to form the government. We also have limits and we need to know where to place the red line."