Gantz: Appointing Netanyahu president ‘morally bankrupt’

Lapid tells right-wing voters to trust Blue and White on security issues, says ’We won’t bring back Oslo, do another disengagement or stop fighting Iran.'

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and MK Yair Lapid (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and MK Yair Lapid
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz described the proposal by Likud’s leadership challenger Gidon Saar to appoint Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as president – should Saar win the Likud primary – as “morally bankrupt.”
Speaking at a party faction meeting, Gantz also called for left-wing parties to avoid any further political schisms, and to unite in order to prevent the establishment of what he described as an extremist government dedicated to granting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity.
Meanwhile, the Blue and White leader insisted that Netanyahu was unfit to assemble a government “ethically and operationally,” but would leave the question to the attorney general and the Supreme Court, who are now grappling with the question following petitions to the court, calling for it to ban Netanyahu from forming a new government due to his indictments on corruption charges.
Gantz said, “I hear the voices in Likud saying Netanyahu should be appointed president... This moral decay must be stopped. This is moral bankruptcy of the movement of Jabotinsky and Begin – they are certainly turning over in their graves. The Likud cannot lead the State of Israel at this time.”
Gantz said that in order for a Blue and White government to be established two things needed to happen. “Firstly,” he indicated, “all the parties who want to switch the current government need to act responsibly and put aside considerations of ego.”
Stav Shaffir, currently of the Democratic Union party, has threatened to run independently in the Green Party due to a desire within the Meretz Party, part of Democratic Union, to lower her position on the joint list. Calls for a unity deal between Democratic Union and Labor have also so far gone unheeded, despite concerns that one or both of the parties could fail to cross the electoral threshold and deprive the center-left bloc of any chance to form a government. “I am in touch with all the relevant elements in a respectful dialogue, and I am certain that they will find a way to prevent [political] schisms which could bring about an extremist, immunity government headed by Netanyahu.”
Earlier, senior Blue and White leader Yair Lapid has appealed to right-wing voters to trust the party with Israel’s security, and emphasized that the policies of a government led by Blue and White would not depart from that of recent Likud-led governments. Lapid vowed in a speech at the Maariv conference on Wednesday, “We will not bring back [the] Oslo [accords], there won’t be another disengagement, we will not stop fighting against Iran... The only difference there will be is that there will be a government working for you.”
Lapid also made a passionate plea for right-wing voters to put aside their entrenched, traditional voting patterns, saying that in order to get the country out of the “mud we are stuck in” they should entrust their vote to Blue and White, who would treat their vote with reverence. “If one time you chose a different voting slip we will treat it with awesome respect,” continued Lapid. He was perhaps channeling British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said following his Conservative Party’s victories in traditional Labour constituencies in the recent UK general election that he was “humbled.” Such voters had put their trust in him in general, and that he would “work night and day, flat out, to prove you right in voting for me.”
Lapid said that the voting slip was “an exchange slip” which voters could take back if they were dissatisfied with the product they receive. He promised, “We will need to fulfil your conditions and our obligations to you. You are not our tool, we are your tool, we work for you.”
The Blue and White leader said that although the indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were “a red line” which meant he could not continue running the country, the elections were not about that issue, but rather about getting the country “back on track.” Lapid said that “the State of Israel is a project that is not being managed today. How long can we continue like this? The political system has lost its mind, there is no captain on the deck.”