The negotiating teams from the Likud and Blue and White parties met Friday morning in Jerusalem.
Blue and White's team refused to participate in the pre-meeting photo op with Likud's Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who head their party's negotiating team.
"Israel needs a broad and stable government - a unity government," Levin said. "We are therefore requesting to hold quick and efficient negotiations, in order to finish this and form a government immediately. We heard the President's words and we believe that it is proper to hold negotiations based on the President's proposal."
"I truly hope that we will find that Blue and White is also interested in this. I want to wish all Jewish people a good year, and may we soon have a broad, stable, and unifying government."
Elkin added: "The Israeli public does not want a third round of elections. The Israeli public wants a broad unity government. We definitely see the President's proposal as the proper basis for negotiations, and we thank him for this. We can end this process quickly if there is goodwill, and create a broad unity government with all of the parties who hold dear the principle of a Jewish and democratic state."
"With G-d's help, we will have a new government in the new year. If we don't succeed in this process, the one who causes it to fail will be drag the country to new elections. I sincerely hope that in the first days of the new year, we will be able to announce that we can form a broad government with all the parties."