Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz speaks at a campaign event.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's surprise interview on Saturday Night in which he answered questions on a range of topics dominating the election cycle headlines, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz attacked Netanyahu for approving a submarine sale to Egypt without consulting the defense minister or the IDF chief of staff.
Opening his statement by wishing the prime minister good luck on his trip to Washington where he will meet with US President Donald Trump twice before speaking at the AIPAC conference, Gantz quickly put aside pleasantries and returned to campaign rhetoric.
"Bibi what happened? Are you listening to yourself?" Gantz asked. "To speak about a submarine sale as a personal decision by the prime minister? Without consulting with the defense minister or the IDF chief of staff?"
Defending himself from the revived controversy in the submarine sales affair, Netanyahu admitted in the interview that he approved a German sale of a submarine to Egypt without consulting with then-defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, today number three of the Blue and White party, and then-IDF chief of staff Gantz.
Netanyahu said that he couldn't expose the reason for the approval because of national security, a fact he claimed was known by Ya'alon and Gantz, and the reason for their attack.
"You have sent me on much more confidential missions," Gantz accused Netanyahu.
This was a "strategic, diplomatic decision, which the Israeli public needs to be able to rely upon that the prime minister of Israel consults with everyone required about such an issue."
Gantz went on to say that it was not reasonable for Netanyahu to make this decision by only consulting with his advisors, and that the issue needed investigation, whatever the outcome.
In the interview, Netanyahu resolutely denied the repeated accusations from the Blue and White Party that he profited from the sale of the submarines to Israel and Egypt, calling it a “blood libel.”
Blue and White’s focus on the submarines “is an attempt to distract from the fact that we have to choose between a government that brought about the best situation in the history of the state or a left-wing government with Lapid as prime minister, leaning on Meretz and the Arab parties, which support terrorism,” Netanyahu said.Lahav Harkov contributed to this article.
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