Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon (L), and Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom attend a session of parliament in Jerusalem May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
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Israeli coalition talks took on heightened urgency Tuesday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still short of even the slimmest majority 36 hours from the deadline to form a government.Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party won 30 seats in the March 17 general election and has so far signed coalition agreements with two ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties and the center-right Kulanu led by Likud defector Moshe Kahlon. If Netanyahu is unable to form a coalition by midnight Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin must then assign another party leader to the task, with a 28-day deadline.Incumbent Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman dropped a bombshell Monday when he announced that his six-seat Yisrael Beitenu party would not be part of the next coalition.Netanyahu now needs to sign up the far-right Jewish Home party of Naftali Bennett, which has eight seats, to achieve even a minimum workable majority of 61 .
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