Political establishment in uproar after Gantz's first public comments

"When Gantz attacks the Nation-State Law and Tzipi Livni commends him for it, everyone knows what was obvious: Gantz is Left, just like Lapid," Likud said.

January 14, 2019 14:59
2 minute read.
Benny Gantz

Benny Gantz. (photo credit: SAPIR COLLEGE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)


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It took almost a month after announcing his Israel Resilience Party for chairman Benny Gantz to make his first public remarks, but since he did so on Monday morning, politicians from all sides have both attacked and praised the former IDF chief of staff.

Meeting with a group of Druze leaders, Gantz vowed to rectify the damage done by the Nation-State Law and promised to continue to build the alliance with the Druze "blood-brothers." 

The New Right Party, newly formed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, was quick to respond to the statement.

"Gantz's first statement in politics makes it clear - Gantz is a member of the Left," a party spokesperson wrote on Twitter. "The Nation-State Law is a historic achievement that reestablishes the state's national, Jewish and Zionist character in the face of ongoing erosion caused by the High Court of Justice. The Gantz plan to change the Nation-State Law clarifies his position."

But in a separate post on Facebook, Bennett admitted that the way the law was legislated hurt the Druze community and emphasized the need to heal the rift.

"These are our blood brothers who stand shoulder to shoulder with us on the battlefield and made a pact with us," Bennett wrote, adding that "the Israeli government has a responsibility to find a way to heal the rift."

The Likud also said that Gantz exposed himself as a left-winger by criticizing the Nation-State Law.

"When Gantz attacks the Nation-State Law and Tzipi Livni commends him for it, everyone knows what was obvious: Gantz is Left, just like Lapid," the statement said.

Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni, on the other hand, praised Gantz for his criticism of the law and demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take a stand on the Declaration of Independence.

"Remember that day when the Likud turns the Declaration of Independence into something of the Left," Livni said. "The Hatnua Party under my leadership is fighting for a state that is both Jewish and democratic, something that isn't obvious anymore. That is what this election is about."

"Netanyahu must declare whether he is in favor or against the Declaration of Independence law," Livini demanded.

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay turned the focus on the make-up of a future coalition.

"Gantz, you are right - equality must be added to the Nation-State Law," Gabbay said, "but it can't be done from within a Netanyahu government. I know, I was there. Do not despair, you can make a change. Commit not to sit in Netanyahu's government."

Yair Lapid, chairman of Yesh Atid, took the chance to promote his party's version of the controversial law.

"Benny Gantz expresses a worthy moral position on amending the national law," Lapid wrote on Facebook. 

"It is important that there be a law that conforms to the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state - and therefore, one of the first things that will be done when we gain power will be the amendment of the current Nation-State Law to the Nation-State Law of Benny Begin and Yesh Atid," Lapid vowed.

Gantz's party defended itself from the attacks by saying, "they shot our Druze brothers in the back, but we will make it right."

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