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Former PM Bennett signals political comeback amid discussions of right-wing alliance

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the annual Cyber Week, at Tel Aviv University, June 25, 2024. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett intends to return to politics, according to an announcement made by New Hope party chairman, Gideon Sa'ar, on Monday during a weekly meeting.

Sa'ar said he and Bennett met last month to discuss future cooperation and Bennett’s potential return to the political scene.

"Negotiations are taking place,” Sa’ar said. “I met with Bennett on the eve of Shavuot (June 11). I understand that he intends to return to politics. There is an ongoing dialogue between the opposition parties. Not everything is released for publication."

Bennett left office in 2022 when his diverse 8-party coalition government collapsed after ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from 12 years of consecutive governance.

Bennett’s tenure marked the first time an Orthodox Jew served as prime minister.

In June, Bennett hinted at a return to politics and possibly rebuilding a unity coalition similar to the one he established in 2021 with current opposition leader Yair Lapid.

The chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, Knesset Member Avigdor Liberman, also commented on the issue, stating: "No one is fighting for first place. Everyone is talking to everyone. There is a good atmosphere, and the position is that we must win and bring as many mandates as possible. We are in daily conversations."

(Left to right) New Hope party head Gideon Sa'ar, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman meet on May 29, 2024. (Photo: Yair Lapid/X)

Liberman addressed the remarks of fellow Knesset Member Moshe Gafni during the finance committee meeting: "When Gafni talks about bringing forward the elections, it should be considered as another attempt to extort money from the prime minister. Our HQ is working on it. We are talking to whoever is needed – and I will not expand on the matter."

Liberman also referred to the elections in France and the antisemitism French Jews are currently facing.

"The leader of the party became famous with many statements against Jews and the State of Israel. This is simply pure antisemitism,” he said, urging Jews to leave France and move to Israel. “There is no time," Liberman warned.

According to a Channel 12 poll last month, a right-wing alliance led by Bennett, Sa’ar, Liberman and former Mossad Director Yossi Cohen would form the largest faction in the Knesset if elections were held today, securing 25 seats.

In another Channel 12 survey published last week, 37% of respondents said Bennett is better suited to serve than Netanyahu, with only 26% choosing the current prime minister and 33% choosing neither.

Sa’ar has previously stated he is willing to compromise to establish a right-wing bloc in opposition to the current Netanyahu-led government.

“I support and gave expression to the establishment of a bloc of incumbent and new right-of-center parties,” Sa’ar said at an Israel Bar Association conference in May.

“I do not want to say that I have already given up my ego. I am saying simply that if the goal is important, I will make personal concessions for the sake of unity.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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