Prime Minister designate Naftali Bennett hosted a meeting of the heads of the parties in his new coalition at the Knesset on Sunday afternoon, two hours before the government was set to be sworn in.
The eight party leaders from across the spectrum gathered in the Yamina faction's conference room, even as outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a last-ditch effort to wipe out its razor-thin majority.
Netanyahu had apparently tried to pressure Ra'am MK Said al-Harumi to change his vote, with police arriving Tuesday morning at the Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj in the Negev Desert to prepare for the demolition of homes in violation of building codes.
The village is a base of support for the Ra'am party and al-Harumi in particular. Among the houses identified for demolition were some belonging to al-Harumi's family members.
According to sources close to al-Harumi, Netanyahu and departing Interior Minister Aryeh Deri promised to stop the demolition process in exchange for his refusal to vote with the new coalition. Deri's ultra-Orthodox Shas party will also be heading to the opposition benches when the new government is confirmed.
But al-Harumi later confirmed he would be voting in support of the new government at the special Knesset session convening at 4pm.
Netanyahu's latest effort to effect the approval of the a new government that will bring about his removal from power after 12 years, was not expected to change the result of the vote in the Knesset on Sunday afternoon, but would have forced the nascent coalition to rely on support from the predominantly Arab Joint List, a move that could further damage the new prime minister in the eyes of his constituents.
Netanyahu's Likud party published a post on Twitter slamming Bennet for relying on votes from "supporters of terrorism" and members of Knesset "who oppose Israel as a Jewish Democratic state."
Tempers in the village of Bir Hajad ran high when the police forces arrived, accompanied by inspectors from the Environmental Protection Ministry who often enforce building code violations and other regulations in the Bedouin sector.
Salman Obeid, a resident of the village, said arrival of the forces was purely political.
"My suggestion to the Ra'am party is to support and join the new government and see what changes can be made regarding the Bedouin community. These demolitions will not take place today. They were decided a long time ago," he said.