It seemed like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was making progress to reach a 65 majority in the Knesset by coming to terms with Avigdor Lieberman, the president of the political party Israel Beiteinu
Reportedly, Netanyahu acquiesced to the former Defense Minister by offering him his old job back and agreeing to take a more aggressive approach in dealing with Hamas. Signs were pointing in the right direction that his party will join the coalition, as evidenced by his recent meetings with the IDF Chief of Staff and Shin Bet officials.
Things have changed significantly, as Lieberman is still holding back from joining unless the current draft law be amended to increase the number of Orthodox males to serve in the army. Lieberman has always been very adamant that the ultra-orthodox communities join or be fined if they refuse to send their eligible youth to the army. However, Netanyahu also needs the seats of the religious party’s (United Torah Judaism, Shas and the Union of Right-Wing Parties) who are all in opposition of a stricter draft law.
Israel Beitenu won 5 seats in this years election, which are important for Netanyahu to have in order to pass the 61 seat Knesset majority. If he does not receive them, then he will be left with 60 seats, which would be a first in the entire history of Israel to have a ruling coalition without a majority.
By Israeli law, the deadline is March 29th for Netanyahu to put together a coalition. If that deadline passes than three option are available; have a ruling coalition without a majority, President Reuven Rivlin appoints someone else to form a government, or the country goes to new elections.