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Netanyahu, Bennett Met for 2 Hours

Prime Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairman held their first meeting in five years. Meeting was "straightforward."
By Rochel Sylvetsky & Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/11/2013, 2:26 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi Chairman MK Naftali Bennett held their first meeting in five years Monday. The meeting started shortly after 12:00 noon in the government offices in the Kirya district in Tel Aviv, and lasted two hours.

Bennett refused to comment on the meeting and said only that he hopes the reporters and the entire nation have an excellent day. 

The Prime Minister's Office said that the meeting was "straightforward" and that the two discussed "all of the subjects on the agenda," and agreed to continue their talks in coming days.

Bennett was Netanyahu's chief of staff in 2006 – 2008, but the two had a falling out for reasons that are not known. There have been persistent reports that Bennett was unhappy with Sarah Netanyahu's involvement in the Prime Minister's Bureau's affairs, and that the Prime Minister's wife was also displeased with Bennett.

Meanwhile, Tzipi Livni, who heads a six-member faction in the 19th Knesset, appears to be headed into Netanyahu's future coalition, according to sources in Likud / Yisrael Beytenu.

Livni's faction – known simply as "The Movement" – convened its first faction meeting Monday, and Livni used the occasion to answer accusations that she would be "a fig leaf" in a right wing government. She said that her party is not interested in fig leaves but in fruit: "We are talking about the fruit and that will be the true test," she explained. "Will there be a real fruit in the form of negotiations. If not – we will fight for it from the Opposition."