Benny Gantz, chairman of the Blue and White party, places a hand on the Western Wall, March 28th, 2019.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Western Wall belongs to all Jews, regardless of their beliefs, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said on a visit to the holy site on Thursday.
Gantz said the Kotel “is not looking for divisions in the Jewish people. It’s looking for connections in the nation. All Jews, all over the world, all the people in the country, whether they are Right or Left, men or women, believing in this way or another.
Gantz added that some places should be above all political arguments.
“When the Kotel was liberated,” Gantz said, “the paratroopers who came here were not from the Right or the Left. They came in the name of the people of Israel.”
The Blue and White leader said the prayer for IDF soldiers and the welfare of the state, and put a note into the Kotel. According to Channel 12 news, the note said: “With God’s help may there be peace upon us and we will make sure there is peace within us.”
At a subsequent event in Jerusalem, Gantz vowed to never allow the city to be divided.
In a speech focused on unity, Gantz said the time has come to look inward.
“I call on the prime minister – and I take on myself the responsibility – not just to recognize the Golan Heights, but to also look at what is going on within the country,” he said.
The ex-IDF chief painted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as turning Israel’s generals into “enemies,” which he said was weakening the country.
Speaking to a crowd of some 200 supporters waving Israeli flags, Gantz said it was much more pleasant to speak in Israel’s capital than in Washington, where he spoke at AIPAC earlier in the week. He recounted how he told a State Department staffer he was “privileged” to be born in Israel, and is on the way to becoming a Jerusalemite.
Gantz arrived at the Western Wall with government-appointed security guards, after receiving death threats on social media.
Gantz has accused the Likud of encouraging and intensifying incitement against him.
Likud has responded that the true incitement was Gantz’s accusation that Netanyahu would have him killed if he could, a statement that was revealed in a tape of a private conversation.
Blue and White candidate Moshe Ya’alon accused the Likud of wiretapping after two taped conversations of Gantz were leaked to Channel 13.
“Someone is investing a lot of money in order to survive politically,” Ya’alon told Army Radio. “I understand intelligence and spying. Who has an interest in putting out such information? Who does not want us to deal with the submarines [affair] and the [State Comptroller’s] report on transportation?”
But fellow Blue and White candidate Gabi Ashkenazi told the Walla News site: “No, I don’t think we are being listened to. I think someone taped Benny saying some things, and it’s not new. It doesn’t move me. As time goes on, we are understanding more and more. Benny spoke to some people and one of them taped him.”
Gil Hoffman and Avraham Gold contributed to this report.
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