In a last ditch attempt to prevent the elections next year, Likud has been attempting since Wednesday to explore the possibility of forming an alternate government. "If Yesh Atid wants to stay alive, they need to split now and prevent elections," a senior Likud source said Thursday.
In addition to talks with the haredi factions in the Knesset, in an attempt to create a bloc with them, Likud members have made efforts to split Yesh Atid and cause a third of the faction to defect and support the coalition in exchange for a line of positions.
"Several discussions have taken place, though at the moment, and mainly due to Yesh Atid MKs' lack of political understanding, it seems that the efforts have yet to come to fruition," said the source.
The source told Ynet that on Wednesday night a member of the coalition spoke to one of Yesh Atid's senior ministers, requesting that he take the lead in a faction split. Yesh Atid MKs confirmed that preliminary overtures had been made regarding such a move, but that for the time being all of the faction's MKs refused and that it was not feasible.
Sources in Likud and the haredi factions said that until Monday's second and third readings of the bill for the dissolution of the Knesset, there was still time for last-ditch efforts to prevent an election.
The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who serves as chairman of Likud, denied the claim. "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not working to split Yesh Atid. This is a pathetic political spin that reflects the panic that has seized the failed finance minister Lapid."
Meanwhile, Yesh Atid issued their own response. "This is another pathetic, hysterical attempt by the old politics to prevent what Netanyahu fears - elections. The prime minister is panicking. He knows he will lose his seat in the next elections and is making every possible effort to prevent them. The entire Yesh Atid party will continue to work, united, for the public."
Starting on Tuesday evening, the center-left factions initiated advanced talks on creating what they refer to as an "alternative to Netanyahu." Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog tried to assemble the various center-left parties – Labor, Yesh Atid, Hatnua, Kadima, and Meretz – into a united front.
According to the proposal, the factions will run on separate lists but will lead with one message to the public, asking them to give their vote to whichever party they prefer – as long as the votes remain within the center-left bloc.