Herzog and Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog continued to deny reports that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting last week in which they discussed the possibility of forming a national unity government.
"It didn't happen and did not take place. Nothing about it was suggested and there was no discussion," Herzog said on Wednesday to Channel 2.
Spokesmen for both Netanyahu and Herzog firmly denied that they met, calling the report nonsense, after the report was brought to light Monday by Channel 1's Ayala Hasson. But sources familiar with the particulars of the meeting said the spokesmen were purposely left in the dark.
Sources informed about the meeting said Netanyahu is interested in forming a wide coalition that would include both Herzog’s Zionist Union and Bayit Yehudi, despite the vast differences between the parties. Unlike Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett has never ruled out sitting in a coalition with the Zionist Union.
Likud officials reported making progress with three parties that would have no problem sitting in a coalition with the Zionist Union: Kulanu, Shas and United Torah Judaism. But Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked left a three-hour meeting with the Likud’s team at the Knesset and said there was “absolutely nothing to report” from the coalition talks.