Netanyahu and Herzog
Netanyahu and Herzog Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has for the first time officially confirmed rumors of intensive talks with the left-wing Zionist Union to join the coalition government.

Speaking at a political forum, Netanyahu confirmed such talks did indeed take place, but said they broke off with the opening of a criminal investigation into Zionist Union chief Yitzhak Herzog.

According to Channel 2, Netanyahu further detailed the reasons why he believed talks to expand the wafer-thin coalition majority government faltered.

"There's one who doesn't want, and one who isn't able," to join the government, the PM said, referring to Yisrael Beytenu party head Avigdor Liberman and Herzog respectively.

Herzog - who has repeatedly denied any unity government talks - would face staunch opposition from the hard-left of his party to joining a Likud-led government.

Liberman, on the other hand, appears intent on remaining in the opposition come what may, hoping to capitalize on a wave of disgruntled right-wing voters unhappy about the current government's record to make a political comeback.

Netanyahu's confirmation of the talks will anger both right-wingers inside the Likud party, as well as his nationalist Jewish Home party coalition partners.

Notably, the prime minister did not rule out the prospect of further talks, now that corruption charges against Herzog appear unlikely.

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