Gantz demands party members take lie detector test after meeting details leaked

The Blue and White head wants to know who leaked his statement at a party meeting that Netanyahu won’t honor their power-sharing agreement.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s Alternate Prime Minister and current Defense Minister Benny Gantz has demanded that his Blue and White MKs take a lie detector test after he was quoted in the Monday evening news as having said in a party meeting that he doesn’t believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will honor their rotation agreement, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

Anonymous MKs lashed back at the extraordinary demand, telling the network, “Someone here has forgotten that we’re in politics and not the [IDF] General Staff.”

Gantz was the IDF Chief of Staff from 2011-2015.

Sources close to Gantz said that the idea came from several Knesset members who wanted to clear themselves of suspicion that they were the leakers, the report said.

According to the coalition deal, Netanyahu is to trade places with Gantz in November of next year. Almost as soon as the ink was dry, however, rumors began swirling that Netanyahu would try to scuttle the agreement early by using certain loopholes.

One of these is the non-passage of a budget. If the 2020 budget is not passed by December 23, the law says the Knesset must be dissolved and new elections scheduled. Blue and White is demanding a Knesset vote next month on a retroactive budget for 2020 simultaneously with one for 2021, while the Likud wants to deal with each budget several months apart.

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Gantz held the meeting at his home Sunday with party colleagues. They discussed whether the current impasse meant that elections were preferable to continuing what is generally seen as an unprofitable coalition.

It is no secret that Gantz doesn’t trust Netanyahu; he built three elections campaigns around attacking the current prime minister. But this is the first time that he reportedly admitted that he won’t manage to force Netanyahu to hand over power.

“I understand that I won’t get the rotation,” he reportedly said. “I won’t believe Netanyahu even a day before it is to happen.”

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn and three MKs said that if this was the case, the party should get out of the government immediately.

But Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper, Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and MK Omer Yanelevich disagreed. They said that the danger was too great that new elections would end with Netanyahu establishing a completely right-wing government with the ultra-Orthodox parties and the national-religious Yemina party, which is currently polling second to the Likud in popularity.