Gantz: If I’m indicted while prime minister, I’ll resign

The Blue and White leader is not a suspect in an upcoming police investigation into a company he used to head.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Benny Gantz declared Friday that if he were ever indicted of a criminal charge while prime minister, he would vacate his position – a dig at Israel’s current leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who has refused to resign although he has been indicted in three corruption cases and his trial begins after the elections next month.

In an interview with Channel 12 News, the Blue and White leader and challenger to Netanyahu said, “If I will be elected and an indictment will be served against me, I’ll resign my position.”

The subject came up following Acting State Attorney Dan Eldad’s announcement on Thursday that he had ordered the police to begin a criminal investigation after the March 2 polls into The Fifth Dimension, a cybersecurity company that Gantz headed before it folded in December 2018.

The Likud was angered by the delay in the investigation.

“All law enforcement officials who wanted to serve an indictment when the prime minister wasn’t even in the country should not even wait one day and summon Benny Gantz for questioning,” Minister of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ofir Akunis said.

When Netanyahu was in the United States for the unveiling of the Trump peace proposal at the end of January, he announced that he would not seek immunity from the Knesset to delay his trial, and the State Prosecution immediately filed the indictments with the court, without waiting the few days until his return.

Gantz questioned the motives behind the announcement while supporting the authorities’ duty to uncover any possible wrongdoing.

“I cannot ignore the political aroma that lies behind the timing of the call for this investigation,” Gantz said. “Nevertheless, I see the glass as half full. The system will investigate – and I am completely calm. I am not a suspect nor will I be a suspect,” he said.

“I expect the prosecutor’s office to conduct a thorough investigation that will uncover the truth. I have no complaints against the prosecution,” he added.

Suspicions against employees of The Fifth Dimension were first raised a year ago by the State Comptroller, who said they might have acted improperly in an effort to receive a multi-million shekel contract from the Israeli Police. Senior police officials were also criticized for their actions in the affair and will be questioned as well.

At a conference in Kiryat Bialik on Saturday night, Gantz said “We need a prime minister who is preoccupied with the state on a full-time basis and all that matters to him is the state itself.” He was suggesting that Netanyahu will be preoccupied by his court cases and distracted from leading the country.

Netanyahu has said he works 16 hours and the court cases only mean he will work 15 hours, devoting one hour to his legal problems.