Gantz invokes Talmudic principle in pitch to right-wing religious camp

Blue and White leader repeats vow to introduce eight-year term limit for prime minister

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz dons tefillin at Zurich Airport, Jan. 2020 (photo credit: BOROPARK24.COM)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz dons tefillin at Zurich Airport, Jan. 2020
(photo credit: BOROPARK24.COM)
Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz on Tuesday made a pitch for the religious right-wing vote in a speech emphasizing the importance of respect for the institutions of state and ethical behavior, which the religious-Zionist community has traditionally lionized.
In a speech laden with religious overtones, he spoke at the Jerusalem Conference of the Besheva newspaper about the Jewish value of respecting one’s fellow man and taking care of the weaker sectors of society.
But he cited the Talmudic principle of respecting the law of the land in an implicit criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has fiercely attacked the Israel Police and State Attorney’s Office over criminal indictments against him.
Gantz said he entered politics after his military career out of a sense of duty, which he said was a central component of the ethos of the religious-Zionist community.
“This is my mission, and in my eyes, this is the idea behind the national and state-respecting camp, which loves this country, which is moved by the return to Zion, which is willing to fight for the security of the country, to settle its land, to take care of the weak, protect its Jewish identity and respect the rules of the democratic game,” he said.
“The national and state-respecting camp is about accepting upon ourselves: ‘The law of the land is the law,’” Gantz said in reference to the Talmudic principle that Halacha requires people to respect the civil law of the country where they live.
The idea is “not to fight against the legal system and bring about anarchy – not because there is nothing to fix in the system, for sure there is, but because the way to fix things does mean destroying it from the foundations,” he said.
Gantz reiterated his pledge to introduce term limits for prime ministers, either eight years or two terms in office.
He deplored the situation in the Gaza Strip periphery, which bore the brunt of terrorist rocket fire on Monday. It was the result of “hesitation and the absence of initiative,” he said.
Gantz promised to appoint Blue and White MK and former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi as defense minister to tackle the challenge from Gaza.
In response, the Likud said Gantz’s promise to appoint Ashkenazi was “empty of meaning,” saying he could not serve as defense minister due to the Harpaz Affair, in which Ashkenazi was suspected, although ultimately cleared, of seeking to influence the appointment of the next chief of staff.