Lapid cagey when asked about potential renewed collaboration with Bennett

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Asked by a reporter ahead of his Yesh Atid faction meeting if he might renew his prior partnership with former prime minister Naftali Bennett, who last week hinted at a political comeback, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid praises the Religious Zionist politician but says little to indicate that their previous close collaboration could resume as before.

As members of his Yesh Atid party chuckle, Lapid welcomes the prospect of a Bennett return, stating: “Naftali and I have been friends for many years. I love him and it is good and important that he will return to political life. I want more moral people in politics.”

He adds: “We speak all the time.”

Last week, Bennett, who led the now-defunct Yamina party, appeared to hint at a return to politics, tweeting that it is possible to rebuild a wide unity coalition similar to the short-lived one he established with Lapid in 2021.

“Today more than ever, the unimaginable reality in which we have been living since October 7 requires a leadership that knows how to unite the people and do the most basic thing that a government should do: to put the interest of the State of Israel before any other consideration, to act wisely in front of the international community, to bring all parts of the people into the circle of service and to conduct the campaign with clear goals until our enemies are defeated,” Bennett said in a post on X. “Friends, we did it then, and you can do it again.”

Retweeting Bennett, Lapid quoted his statement, insisting that “with a professional government, real leadership and unity among us, it is possible. And much faster than you think. We will yet establish a state here that is worthy of this nation.”

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