Benny Gantz announces Blue and White run Tuesday night

Alternate PM said he saved Israeli democracy

 (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
(photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz announced at a press conference on Tuesday night that his Blue and White Party will run in the next election, and he will lead it.
There had been speculation that Gantz would retire from politics after two years of political challenges that wore him down. But Gantz said he was ready to go back on the campaign trail.
Gantz said his unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended due to Netanyahu's caprices. He said he did not regret joining the government, because it prevented Netanyahu from doing whatever he wanted running the country on his own, including obtaining immunity.
"Blue and White lied down on a grenade, but as I have throughout my career, I was serving the public," he said. "I saved the State of Israel. I saved Israeli democracy."
He called for a "covenant of partnership against Netanyahu," in which the largest party would form the government.
In a veiled attack on prime ministerial candidate Gideon Sa'ar, Gantz said Blue and White would oppose closing down Tel Aviv on Shabbat, a controversial move made by Sa'ar when he was interior minister. He declined to say whether he could run together with New Hope or Yamina.
Gantz had a tough day on Tuesday. Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn left for a new party led by Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai without informing Gantz in advance.
Reports on Tuesday evening said Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi would announce on Wednesday that he is quitting politics. Asked if the report was true, his spokesman said "wait and see."
The developments in Blue and White happened amid polls showing the party teetering on the 3.25% electoral threshold.
Blue and White MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh announced in a tweet on Tuesday that she would not be running with the party.
"I will not run with Blue and White in the upcoming elections," wrote Cotler-Wunsh. "Alongside the financial-health-societal challenges are opportunities and responsibility that must be realized. We must challenge and change paradigms."

Tzvi Jofree contributed to this report