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Bennett-Lapid Coalition Talks Race Against the Clock

What was expected to be concluded on Sunday night or Monday at the latest has now dragged into Wednesday afternoon, as negotiations over the much-ballyhooed Bennett-Lapid government, intended to unseat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, continue to hit snags, threatening to upend the already shaky construct altogether and keep Netanyahu in office. With Lapid’s mandate to form a government, handed to him by President Reuven Rivlin last month, set to expire at midnight, the sides have a precious few hours to hammer out the final details. The only remaining hurdle seems to be a seat on the country’s Judicial Appointment Committee, over which Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party and Yair Lapid’s center-left bloc are still battling. The projected coalition, if eventually established, will include far-right, centrist, and far-left parties,  and will also incorporate a predominantly Arab party for the first time in Israel’s history. If no government is presented by midnight, Israel will in all likelihood head to another general election, its fifth in two and a half years.