Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is racing to put together a governing coalition with a deadline only hours away.

Netanyahu was holding furious consultations Wednesday with the hawkish Jewish Home Party in order to secure a narrow 61-seat majority in the 120-seat parliament.

If he fails by the end of the day, President Reuven Rivlin must appoint someone else the task of forming a coalition.

After Netanyahu's Likud Party won March 17 elections with 30 seats, it seemed he would have a relatively easy time forming a coalition.

But talks stalled and were thrown into a tizzy this week when Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman unexpectedly stepped down and announced his nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party was joining the opposition.

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett has a rocky relationship with Netanyahu.