The leader of Blue and White, which finished a close second in last Tuesday’s Knesset election, acknowledges that it was “premature” to declare victory on election night.
By World Israel News Staff
While conceding that he “should have been more modest” before declaring himself Israel’s next prime minister last week on election night, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is “100 percent” sure that “one day, I will definitely be prime minister.” He made his remarks on Channel 12’s Uvda program on Sunday evening.
As for the immediate question of whether he would join an incoming government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Blue and White leader said: “We won’t join a Netanyahu government; we will stay in the opposition and fight from there.”
Mr. Gantz told the Channel 12 program that he believed that Mr. Netanyahu was going “to put together a coalition that will occupy itself with strengthening his legal position which ultimately will distance Israel from law and democracy.”
The prime minister is facing indictments in three corruption cases pending a hearing before a final decision is made.
Blue and White has repeatedly stated that it would not sit together with Mr. Netanyahu in a government due to the pending indictments. In his ill-fated election speech, Mr. Gantz thanked the prime minister for his public service and added that it was now time for Mr. Netanyahu to devote himself to the criminal trials which potentially await him.
Contrary to exit polls on election night which pointed to a possible Blue and White victory by as many as four seats, the results have shown that Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud’s party edged out Blue and White 36-to-35 in the 120-seat parliament.
More significantly, the Likud has an easier path to forming a majority governing coalition together with smaller but ideologically like-minded parties.
The accusation by Mr. Gantz that Mr. Netanyahu would use his parliamentary majority to protect himself legally was an apparent reference, in particular, to the possibility that legislation would be passed to make a sitting prime minister immune from standing trial.
“Our job as we see it is to bolster law and democracy in Israel for all citizens,” Mr. Gantz said, adding that, therefore, “sitting with Netanyahu is not an option.”