Despite own party being on ropes, Gantz declares Netanyahu’s career at end

The Blue and White leader lashed out at Netanyahu, accusing him of acting only out of personal interest.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, whose party is collapsing as key figures abandon it, nevertheless came out punching at a Tuesday evening press conference, declaring the reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an end.

Gantz credited his party with delivering the final blow “ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political career.”

“The end of Netanyahu’s political career is Blue and White’s greatest achievement, but not its only one,” Gantz told reporters. “Blue and White paved the way. Blue and White has saved the country.”

Acknowledging the current state of his own party, he said Blue and White sacrificed to bring about Netanyahu’s supposed demise for which it now pays the electoral price.

Following the March 2020 election, Gantz’s party won 33 seats. A Dec. 22 poll shows Gantz’s party on the verge of disappearing from the political map with only 5 Knesset seats.

The party had already lost a large chunk of its political power when it split up after Gantz chose to form a national unity government with Netanyahu. A faction of the party broke off to remain in the opposition.

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Gantz joined with Netanyahu with the promise that he would become prime minister in a power-sharing agreement. It doesn’t appear that Netanyahu ever intended to fulfill that promise.

“There was not one minute in this government when Netanyahu viewed us as partners or acted for the country’s benefit,” Gantz said. “Only the good of the country is guiding me, even if I pay a price.”

Gantz is paying a price. A senior Blue and White member, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, has recently announced he’s leaving Blue and White.

“Nissenkorn has chosen a new political home and is therefore expected to resign,” Gantz said. “The justice portfolio is one of Blue and White’s most important assets to safeguard democracy and the rule of law, and we will continue acting the same way we have thus far.”

Nissenkorn will join Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s new party, The Israelis.

Gabi Ashkenazi, currently Foreign Minister, is expected to announce his retirement from Blue and White on Wednesday as well.

While Gantz’s prospects are dimming, the Dec. 22 poll showed Likud under Netanyahu gaining, with an increase of two seats from a poll the week prior.

Still, Netanyahu doesn’t have a clear path to a Knesset majority of 61 seats, a problem that has bedeviled him for the last three elections. This election will be a record-setting fourth in less than two year’s time.

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Netanyahu faces growing dissension from the Right. Former senior Likud member Gideon Saar has formed a party, New Hope, which has attracted four Likud members to date. Saar has promised not to enter a coalition with Netanyahu.