Blue and White leader Benny Gantz called on Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to move forward with the indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, describing his recent efforts to postpone a pre-indictment hearing as a “corrupt escape dance.”
Gantz also accused Netanyahu of being “weak” and of getting the country stuck in an enervating year-long election process, during a press conference in the Knesset on Wednesday.
“Netanyahu is weak; the original elections were brought forward because of his legal needs,” said Gantz.
“Instead of the government acting to advance the country, the state is causing a situation that the country is stuck – and all of this is because he is weak,” continued the Blue and White leader.
“Responsibility is now in the hands of the attorney-general, and I call on him to halt this corrupt escape dance from judgement. There is a hearing, there is a date, this legal mumbo jumbo cannot continue. Things need to happen,” he said.
Following Gantz’s comments, Blue and White’s co-leader Yair Lapid also lambasted Netanyahu for his claims that his voice is never heard due to a hostile press.
“I want to remind you about something regarding this election,” he charged, “Netanyahu has two newspapers working for him. His own TV station. Radio broadcasters who get their messaging directly from [Netanyahu adviser] Natan Eshel. He has unlimited funds. No one knows from where.”
Lapid also accused Netanyahu of pouring hundreds of millions of shekels into social networks.
“He has government ministers who crawl at his feet,” he said, “without an opinion of their own.”
Lapid went on to say that, “Netanyahu doesn’t give speeches. He doesn’t give interviews. He’s in the bunker. But he’s built a megaphone.”
“[For] twenty years he’s been building a huge, corrupt machine, which works only for him,” he said, adding that Netanyahu is “a propaganda machine, who spews out poison in incredible quantities... and then he cries that the media is left-wing.”
The Blue and White No. 2 also asked: “Who is left to prosecute Netanyahu?”
“Half of the media is paralyzed by fear of him, and the second half works for him,” Lapid claimed. “He’s taken control of whole outlets and then people say to us ‘we can’t hear you.’”
Lapid vowed that they will do everything to change the tides of leadership. “We’ll go to every group, every cafe, every market, every shopping mall and every radio and television station. But that won’t be enough. I say to everyone who can hear us – if you want to win, help. Faced with Netanyahu’s machine, let’s bring a million small, rapid and smart machines of our own.”
He encouraged those listening, and those who want to see change, to spread the party’s message and to do their part in the run-up to the September 17 elections.
“[If] you hear Gabi [Ashkenazi] on the radio, circulate it. You see Benny[ Gantz]’s speech, circulate it. We’ve got strength,” he said. “It’s in our hands. That’s the new world. Every citizen with a smartphone is a media outlet. Everyone who has Facebook can change the reality.”
“If you feel we’re not being heard, you can change that. If we change that, we’ll win,” he concluded.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.