Coalition talks between Jewish Home and Likud have ground to a halt on Tuesday, hours before a Wednesday deadline for a government to be formed under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Jewish Home, whose signature will make or break the coalition, reportedly reassessed their demands late Tuesday night after Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman announced that his party would not join the coalition and that he was resigning as Foreign Minister.
Among the new demands for Jewish Home would be the highly sought-after Foreign Ministry post .
However, Yisrael Hayom, the publication closely linked to Netanyahu, reports Tuesday that Netanyahu has already rejected this demand.
Instead, Netanyahu is reportedly offering Jewish Home to trade the Justice Ministry for the Education Ministry.
Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett is reportedly outraged over the Shas-Likud coalition deal, which placed the Religious Affairs ministry and the Rabbinical courts unequivocally in the haredi party's hands.
Shortly after the Liberman announcement was made, Likud both made an offer and a threat to Jewish Home, Likud officials revealed to Arutz Sheva on Monday. On the table are the Education, Agriculture, Culture/Sport and Diaspora Ministries – showing, as analysts predicted, that Likud preferred to give Jewish Home quantity over quality in the current talks.
In addition, the Education Ministry's budget will be significantly increased with hundreds of millions of shekels being allocated to religious Zionist educational institutions and new reforms under the would-be Minister Bennett's auspices.
Despite touting the uniqueness of the deal, Likud was quick to make a threat should Jewish Home refuse.
"If Jewish Home refuses this proposal, there is just one alternative to a national Likud government: a left-wing government led by [Labor leader Yitzhak] Herzog, which will not have Religious Zionist representation," Likud warned.
"A left-wing government that will evacuate settlements, compromise on the status of Jerusalem, hurt the Religious Zionist public, and bend to international pressure."
If Jewish Home signs a coalition deal, the government will consist of 61 MKs; analysts predict a highly unstable government. If Jewish Home refuses, it is likely to serve in the Opposition of a left-wing government headed by Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog.