Netanyahu: Gantz most political defense minister ever

Lapid ultimatum to Gantz: Back dispersing Knesset next week

Defense Minister Benny Gantz [L] and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [R] wearing masks in the Knesset (photo credit: ADINA VALMAN/KNESSET SPOKESPERSON)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz [L] and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [R] wearing masks in the Knesset
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Blue and White leader Benny Gantz at Monday's Likud faction meeting for his decision to form a ministerial committee to probe Netanyahu's role in the purchasing of submarines and other naval vessels.
"I think it's shameful that Gantz is using the IDF as a tool for political criticism," Netanyahu said. "No defense minister made such political use of the IDF. I hope he withdraws his decision."
Interior Minister Arye Deri also criticized Gantz's decision at a meeting of his Shas faction, saying that he "crossed a red line for political considerations." Deri warned Gantz that his behavior made him question whether the current partnership with Blue and White should continue.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, announced that next week the opposition will propose dispersing the Knesset and will not withdraw the motion as he has done twice recently.
"On December 2nd, next Wednesday, we will propose a bill to disperse the Knesset," he said. "We won't withdraw it at the last moment, we won't negotiate over it, the bill will come to a vote. It is time for elections. Netanyahu wants elections in June, so he's playing for time. There is no reason to let him go to elections at the time that's convenient for him. The national interest is to go to elections quickly, to create a new government that will deal with COVID-19 and the economy."
Gantz defended himself at a meeting of his Blue and White faction, saying it was necessary to deal with Netanyahu with both sticks and carrots.
"After reconsidering the Submarine Affair and looking at the courses of action available to me, I’ve decided to launch a governmental commission of inquiry to look into how those patrol boats and submarines were procured," he said. "Over the coming period, we will continue working, with both our metaphorical olive branch and sword. We will keep pushing for a state budget and a functioning government,  peacefully. But we will also use that metaphorical sword if it proves necessary, and insist that we get back on track to working for the people, and only for the people.”  
But Gantz stopped short of calling for Israelis to go to the polls again.
“Everyone’s talking about elections," he said. "I’d like to say that I think that the State of Israel needs a functioning government, supported by a state budget and a spirit of cooperation. No, I am not afraid of elections. I just don’t think that they’re  what the country needs at this time, and I will keep doing everything I can for this government. Not by compromising on my principles, not by compromising on what this country’s priorities should be, not by putting my own needs before the needs of this country."