We are nearly 24 hours from the dramatic announcement by Naftali Bennett that he has decided to go with Yair Lapid to form a government in order to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.
But even Bennett – who stands to serve as prime minister even though his party only won seven seats in the election – knows it's not yet time to break out the champagne.
We are no closer to a government than we were yesterday.
Right now, the parties are in intense negotiations, wrangling for Cabinet positions in exchange for participating in the coalition.
Lapid has only one more day to get in his recommendation to the president. And yet, very few parties have signed on the dotted line. And we are all still waiting for an answer from Ra’am, the Islamic party headed by Mansour Abbas whose four seats are crucial to pushing Lapid to a 61-seat majority.
This is going to come down to the wire.
Bennett is in.
Gideon Sa’ar, head of the new Hope party, is as well. In a speech today he called Netanyahu an “incitement machine” for delegitimizing the government before it is even formed.
Sa’ar, who is a right winger and former Likud member, said left-wing politicians were good enough for Netanyahu when it suited him. He listed several dovish partners in Bibi’s government including Tzipi Livni and Shimon Peres.
“The left with Netanyahu – fantastic. The left in a government without Netanyahu – the end of the country,” Sa’ar said mocking Netanyahu's threats over the past several days of the dangers of a left-wing government.
Sa’ar reaffirmed his party’s commitment to the security of Israel.
“We will not allow harm to come to the Land of Israel, just as we will not allow democracy to be harmed,” he said.
However, Sa’ar also warned that “even now it is uncertain whether a government will be formed, but we are doing and will continue to do all we can to see it established.”
Yisrael Beytenu faction leader Avigdor Liberman took it a step further questioning Netanyahu’s mental fitness.
“I’m not sure he’s fit to fill the role of prime minister,” Liberman said, calling Netanyahu “mentally unstable.”
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz also said there were “gaps.”
“There are gaps and there are disagreements that need to be closed,” Gantz said.
His party brings 8 seats to the table and is larger than even that of Bennett’s.
But a hopeful Yamina staffer told Channel 12, “There are no irreconcilable disagreements vis-a-vis the other parties in the coalition.”
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS