Blue and White leader Benny Gantz
accused Netanyahu of throwing the country into disarray with two elections in one year in order to fight his legal troubles.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz reiterated Monday that his party will not form a unity government with the Likud Party under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership, at a conference hosted by the Manufacturer’s Association of Israel in Tel Aviv.
“Netanyahu cannot be prime minister with three or four indictments against him,” Gantz said. “We won’t form a national corruption government with Netanyahu. We will form a national unity government with other factors, based on our guidelines.”
The former IDF chief of staff said his statement stands even if the security situation in the North continues to heat up.
“We have to balance our principles with our interests. We will support all security needs even if we are outside [the coalition], but there is also democracy and the need to fight corruption,” he said.
Gantz accused Netanyahu of throwing the country into disarray with two elections in one year in order to fight his legal troubles.
“Netanyahu played with the [pre-indictment] hearing before the election. He thought if he doesn’t form a government, he won’t have a hearing until after the election. He only cares about himself,” he added.
Netanyahu’s hearing with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit is set for October 2-3.
Gantz criticized Netanyahu for trying to lay blame on others.
“We have a culture minister who attacks cultural institutions, a justice minister who attacks the judiciary, and a prime minister who attacks everything,” he said. “Hello?! This is backwards. Take responsibility and lead! If you’re King Bibi, be the king and lead; but he says he’s the victim.”
As for Netanyahu’s sharp criticism of the media,
which increased in recent days with a call to boycott Channel 12, Gantz said that violence “doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from an atmosphere.
“The media is not the enemy of the people,” Gantz emphasized.
At the same conference, the freshly-shaven veteran Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz repeated the vow he made upon adopting his new sans mustache visage after decades of it being his signature look: “I am not entering a Netanyahu government, period.”
Notwithstanding the emphatic statements by Gantz and Peretz, Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked twice told the industrialists at the conference that if they want a right-wing government, they should vote for her party, otherwise Netanyahu will bring Blue and White and Labor into his next government.
Gantz also addressed the persistent reports of discord among the parties making up the Blue and White bloc.
“We are not a monolith,” he explained. “We don’t have a leader who dictates all. We have differences of opinion and different people who talk. I won’t silence [Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid or [Telem leader Moshe] Ya’alon.”
Still, Gantz added, he does not regret hiring private investigators to find out the source of leaks about the party and its campaign to the media.