Israel Edges Toward Snap Elections as Netanyahu Struggles to Form Government

Mr. Netanyahu has so far failed to persuade the head of a secular party to abandon a demand for legislation that puts him at odds with religious parties who would be part of the government, leading to the impasse.

.. Mr. Netanyahu’s party recently introduced a bill that would grant him immunity from criminal prosecution as he faces bribery and fraud charges related to three corruption probes. He faces a pretrial hearing in September and fresh elections could delay the legislation, which has received harsh criticism from some of Mr. Netanyahu’s party as well as members of the opposition and Israel’s legal community.

Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose secular Yisrael Beiteinu party has five seats, backed Mr. Netanyahu for prime minister but has said he would only sit in a coalition that legislates to force the ultraorthodox to serve in the military alongside most Israelis.

.. Mr. Lieberman backs a version of the bill written by the Defense Ministry that sets a minimum number of ultraorthodox men who must be drafted into the military. Other members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, the ultraorthodox United Torah Judaism and Shas parties, want to see the law watered down.

“The draft law is symptomatic of the radicalness of the ultraorthodox,” Mr. Lieberman said Tuesday morning.

.. “Netanyahu’s insistence to keep his seat at any cost—it is the single barrier to the forming of a national unity government that can truly work for Israel’s citizens, every Israeli citizen,” Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said in a press conference Monday. “If there was one other leader in the Likud, we could form this government.”