Gantz compares Netanyahu's remarks to Capitol riot incitement

"The blood will be on your hands if they break into government offices like in the US," Gantz says.

Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz attends a conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz attends a conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Acting justice minister Benny Gantz criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday for calling on small-business owners to protest outside the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem. He accused him of following in the footsteps of US president Donald Trump in encouraging the storming of a government building.
Netanyahu told a group of small-business owners who met with him at a cafe in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on Sunday morning that the Justice Ministry prevented them from receiving compensation for their losses during coronavirus lockdowns. The business owners should demonstrate to get Justice Ministry officials to expedite the legal process that would compensate them, he said.
Gantz called on Netanyahu to retract what he called “dangerous and borderline incitement.” The Justice Ministry staff members were working around the clock to help those harmed by the virus, and Netanyahu was responsible for the delay, he said.
“If there are scenes like there were in the United States of protesters breaking into government offices, the blood will be on your hands,” Gantz wrote. “I will stand in your way every time you try to harm the justice system.”
Likud officials downplayed Netanyahu’s statement, saying it was completely clear from his remarks on video that he did not encourage anyone to enter the Justice Ministry.
But opposition leader Yair Lapid reiterated on Monday that he would be willing to sacrifice his own personal advancement to remove Netanyahu from office. He might not end up being the one who forms the next government even if his Yesh Atid faction is the largest in the anti-Netanyahu bloc, he wrote in Haaretz.
In an effort to prevent Netanyahu from interfering with the legal establishment, Gantz tried unsuccessfully on Monday to have his appointment as justice minister extended beyond the three months he is permitted by law to hold the post in an interim capacity. When it became clear that the appointment would not pass, he stopped a vote on approving Blue and White faction chairman Eitan Ginzburg as communications minister.
Israel will have three cabinet ministers from the LGBT community when the cabinet officially approves the appointment. Ginzburg, who became Israel’s first openly gay mayor when he was mayor of Ra’anana, will join gay ministers Itzik Shmuli (Labor) and Amir Ohana (Likud).
The Communications portfolio has been held by Gantz since he fired Yoaz Hendel on December 16 after Hendel left Blue and White for the New Hope Party of prime ministerial candidate Gideon Sa’ar.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit warned Gantz that he was holding too many portfolios. Besides being alternate prime minister and defense minister, he is acting minister of justice, acting minister of communications and minister of science and technology.
Earlier Monday, Meretz’s No. 4 candidate, Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, got into hot water for saying in an interview with the Arabic radio station Kol Al-Arab that she would abstain on legislation related to the LGBT community due to the conservative nature of her Arab-Israeli constituency.
After her comments were published in the Hebrew press, Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, who is gay, compelled Rinawie Zoabi to tape a video in which she vowed to support all bills that advance the rights of the LGBT community.