Bibi ally Gilad Erdan, whom Likudniks voted in as the party’s No. 2, is about to take his seat as a rank-and-file Knesset member.
Who would have dreamed on election night that Netanyahu, with 30 seats in his pocket, heading into his fourth term as prime minister, would so swiftly morph from king into doormat?
Netanyahu may have looked like a big winner on March 18, but he emerges from negotiations with the narrowest of coalitions, and having paid extortionate prices to his new partners in the government.
Netanyahu finally managed to put together his fourth government - by bleeding out most of his party's ministerial assets.
If Netanyahu fails to form a government in time, his political career will be over, and Bennett will be accused by his voters of having thwarted the establishment of a rightist government with his own two hands.
With the benefit of hindsight, it seems likely that Yisrael Beiteinu's leader had planned from the start not to join the coalition, but cunningly preferred to wait until the 11th hour.
To obtain political quiet and government longevity, Netanyahu is piling his future partners' plates with honors, irrespective of the size of their factions. All except Naftali Bennett.
As coalition talks seem destined to be extended, Netanyahu is still dithering between signing with Bennett and Lieberman, or turning to Herzog in a unity bid. Meanwhile, Shas, UTJ and Kulanu are waiting in the wings.
The prime minister's dilemma is how and with what constellation of players he can achieve the stability he covets – the maximum political lifespan for his government, and for him.
The 20th Knesset was sworn-in on Tuesday, as speculation remains over the makeup of Netanyahu's next coalition.