Benny Gantz (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R).
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz escalated his attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, saying that extremists, not his mentors, would see him as their successor.
Speaking at a rally in Beersheba 27 years after former prime minister Menachem Begin’s death, Gantz rejected Netanyahu’s comparisons of himself to Begin and suggested he was instead following in the footsteps of the late extremist right-wing Rabbi Meir Kahane.
“Begin would be ashamed of Netanyahu,” Gantz said. “[Netanyahu’s inspiration Ze’ev] Jabotinsky would be ashamed of Netanyahu. [Former prime minister Yitzhak] Shamir would be ashamed of Netanyahu. But Kahane would be proud of Netanyahu.”
Gantz said he and the other leaders of Blue and White were the true successors of Begin, as well as former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Earlier, Gantz attacked Netanyahu on Facebook, saying that the Likud had changed dramatically from Begin’s days at the helm to how Netanyahu is running the party now.
“With Begin in power, Netanyahu would have long ago been thrown out of the Likud,” Gantz wrote. “We have to be honest – Menachem Begin would not have been welcomed to Netanyahu’s Likud. He would have been called an enemy of the state.”
At the event in Beersheba, Gantz responded to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s announcement on the timing for Netanyahu’s upcoming legal hearing.
“The attorney-general’s message that Netanyahu’s hearing will be very soon is dramatic and emphasizes that we cannot allow there to be a prime minister working half-time and we cannot allow there to be a prime minister who is half-honest,” Gantz said. “Netanyahu is tired and worn out and his entire agenda nowadays is dictated solely by his goal of survival.”
Gantz’s attack on Netanyahu came after Blue and White fell in the polls. A Midgam poll taken for Channel 13 that was broadcast Monday night found that if elections would be held now, Blue and White would beat Likud 31 to 28 seats.
In the last poll taken by Midgam for Channel 13 on March 2, Blue and White led Likud 36 to 30.
The new poll found that Blue and White had taken votes from the Right. Eight percent of respondents who voted for Likud in the 2015 election said they were voting for Blue and White, along with 13% of Bayit Yehudi voters and 17% of the voters of Yisrael Beytenu.
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