After failing to assemble a coalition within the legally allotted month, Prime Minister Netanyahu went back to President Shimon Peres on Saturday night to ask for an extension. Peres granted Netanyahu a two week extension, which is the maximum allowed by the law. If he fails to put together a coalition within two weeks, Peres can assign the job of assembling the coalition to someone else, and if that attempt fails, Israel will be required to hold new elections.
At the moment, the keys to the forming a coalition are in the hands of Naftali Bennett and his Jewish Home party. Bennett has conditioned his entry into the government on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid parallel entry into the government with him. But Lapid has made it clear that he has no intention of entering the government with the Ultra-Orthodox.
Bennett, on the other hand, has no problem sitting with the Ultra-Orthodox, but he is demanding that the government work to begin drafting them into the army, as it does with most of the rest of the Jewish population. Drafting the Ultra-Orthodox into the army, would then allow them to legally join the workforce, and break the cycle of poverty in which their community is currently trapped.
One other side effect of a failed coalition building process, is that if no government is formed within the next two weeks, US President Obama may cancel his planned upcoming trip to Israel.
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