Journalist Ben Caspit asserted in his Maariv column on Sunday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had offered Labor chairman Yitzhak Herzog the defense, foreign affairs and justice portfolios to join his fourth government.
In exchange for the top positions, Caspit wrote, the Prime Minister would demand that Herzog remain in his government until the end of a full four-year term.
According to Caspit, contacts between Herzog and Netanyahu have remained on the back burner, and the Prime Minister's latest offer to the opposition leader is only a few weeks ago.
Netanyahu apparently suggested that Herzog immediately become foreign minister, and halfway through the term – in April 2017 – also take on defense minister. In addition, former Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich was to receive the justice portfolio.
"Herzog's problem was that he could not deliver the goods Netanyahu needs: a full-term promise," Caspit writes.
According to Labor's constitution, the party chairman must announce primaries a maximum of 14 months after general elections – meaning, in this case, by July 2016.
Netanyahu, it appears, is unwilling to sign a coalition agreement that will last for less than a year, given the Labor party's propensity for ousting leaders who have failed in general elections.
Caspit also claimed that Netanyahu was unwilling to remove Jewish Home from the coalition, for fear its chairman, Naftali Bennett, would grow more powerful in the opposition.
"Instead Bibi suggested to Buji a "phased ousting" of Naftali Bennett," Caspit wrote. "First we'll take the justice portfolio from them, and then we'll see. When there are political negotiations [between us publicly], they'll understand and leave on their own."