JERUSALEM, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Coalition talks between Israel' s incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies will resume on Monday at noon with a purpose of forming a government this week.
On Sunday night, Netanyahu met with prospective partners Yair Lapid from Yesh Atid Party and Naftali Bennet from the Jewish Home Party to resolve the remaining standing issues before reaching coalitional agreements.
There are three issues that are still unresolved: the exact phrasing of a new conscription law to draft ultra-Orthodox into the army, the distribution of portfolios between Yesh Atid and the Likud parties, specifically over the education portfolio, and the number of ministers in the next government.
The two-hour meeting was "encouraging," the Ha'aretz daily newspaper cited well-placed sources at Yesh Atid and the Jewish Home parties.
Although agreements have not been reached, the talks did not reach a dead end but are moving slowly, the sources said.
"At the moment, it doesn't seem as if we're headed for crisis," a Likud source, who attended the negotiations, told Ha'aretz.
Netanyahu was appointed by Israeli President Shimon Peres to build a new government on Feb. 2 after Netanyahu and his Likud- Beytenu party won the Jan. 22 elections, gaining 31 seats in the Knesset (parliament) out of 120.
Netanyahu, who met with a strong alliance between Lapid and Bennet throughout the coalition talks, asked the president for an extension which is set to end on Saturday.
If nothing else fails, on Monday and Tuesday the teams will sort out the final details and allocate the portfolios to the ministers, announcing the new government officially by Wednesday.