Following Israel’s coalition talks can be exhausting and frustrating. To make a long story short, this is where we stand: Netanyahu can have the narrow coalition of the right and the religious parties. However, he wants a more consensual coalition. This is why he keeps trying to get Kadima and Labor on board.
Regarding Labor: The head of the party, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, wants to join the government, but most other party leaders don’t. Regarding Kadima: Many party leaders want to join the government, but the head of the party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, doesn’t.
Where does this leave Netanyahu? Since Livni seems quite insistent, the focus is now more on Labor and Barak, and Netanyahu’s only hope is public pressure. This can happen if more headlines like this (“Iran has enough nuclear material to make bomb, US says”), this (“40% attend Ashkelon schools after rocket fire”), and this (“Treasury drafts plans to fight economic crisis”) keep popping up, and if the organized campaign aimed at keeping Barak as Defense Minister (“we can’t afford losing him at this time of crisis”) succeeds. The obvious historical parallel that’s being drawn may point to another option: Barak can approximately mimic Moshe Dayan, who joined a Likud government in 1977. But this is tricky: Dayan left on his own, and, in so doing, left the party behind.