Bennett, Gantz meet in Tel Aviv hotel

Yamina party says meeting with Blue and White leader was planned weeks ago. Yesh Atid, New Hope make progress in negotiations.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett met with Blue and White chairman Defense Minister Benny Gantz at a hotel in Tel Aviv today despite his pledge that forming a government with the 'change bloc' was no longer on the agenda, Channel 12 News reported.

The Yamina party did not deny that the meeting took place and claimed that it was a "routine meeting that was scheduled at the time of the operation and took place now."

The meeting between Bennett and Ganz was held in parallel with a meeting between representatives of Yesh Atid and New Hope, who this evening announced progress in negotiations to form a joint government. The parties' statement said that the meeting of the negotiating teams had ended and that "progress has been made in the negotiations and agreements had been reached."

It was also reported that the Yesh Atid and New Hope representatives will continue talks in the near future with the aim of reaching agreements to form a government.

Religious Zionist chairman Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement to the Knesset media yesterday that Yamina leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked were working to form a "left-wing government" during Operation Guardian of the Walls, offered him a chance to join such a government, but he refused.

At a press conference in the Knesset, Smotrich said: "Bennett and Shaked have put the right-wing voters to sleep in recent weeks, created a false impression that the government of change was out of the question, but in practice continued to work quietly, under fire, to form a left-wing government with Arab supporters or terror."

According to Smotrich, "They (Bennett and Shaked) even sent me messengers and made far-reaching proposals so that I would agree to join the left-wing government with them. I will save them from themselves. I will never sell my values. period.