Just like a game – we are headed into overtime with Israeli politics.
Tomorrow night, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is expected to ask President Shimon Perez for another two weeks to form a government.
Netanyahu will have until March 24 to submit his new government coalition.
The parties who have cooperated with him and his Likud Party in past elections have been the Ultra-orthodox parties.
They are now threatening that if they don't join government in this first stage, they won't enter it at all.
Thus the growing assessment in the political establishment is that Mr. Netanyahu will have to surrender on the ultra-orthodox joining in this next government.
Shas officials have commented that Netanyahu has given up on them.
This comes as senior Likud sources have been leaking info that a coalition agreement will be set next week with the newcomers to the Israeli political scene; Mr. Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid and Mr. Naftali Bennett of Jewish Home.
Rumors are circulating that, on the main sticking issue of the Ultra Orthodox joining the army draft, an outline on equality in sharing the burden is on verge of agreement with the two factions.
So it seems that for his own political survival Mr. Netanyahu has accepted the Lapid-Bennett alliance and, in the first stage, will form a government with them.
Shas leader Rabbi Deri has reportedly said to his party leadership that Shas is preparing to sit in the opposition and fight the economic decrees advantageous to his constituancy along with the Labor Party.
So as it turns out, ironically the government that will be formed here in another two weeks or so will be pretty much the same had Netanyahu just formed it two days after the election.
Mr. Netanyahu and the political establishment tried to keep the old guard in place – despite the public voting to the opposite.
The new political stars are sticking together with the threat to take the country to early elections if Netanyahu doesn't cooperate with them – and it's working because Bibi knows he and his Likud would suffer greatly at the hands of the voters should they get the chance to cast their ballots.
Middle East Correspondent