Gantz threatens civil war, tells Netanyahu ‘we will choose to fight you’

“If you continue down this path, you will bear the responsibility for the civil war,” says former defense minister; Smotrich pushes back against “wild personal attacks” from the Left.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News 

National Unity party chairman and former Defense Minister Benny Gantz excoriated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of leading Israel towards civil war.

Speaking at a faction meeting of the National Unity party Monday afternoon, Gantz lambasted the new right-wing government’s planned judicial reforms, which were proposed last week by newly minted Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud).

Gantz accused the Likud of moving forward with the reforms – long pushed by the Right to curtail the ability of the Supreme Court to overturn Knesset laws – in order to shield Netanyahu from prosecution in his ongoing corruption trials.

“If you think that we won’t give you a fair trial, don’t try to correct it by doing an injustice to the State of Israel and Israeli society,” Gantz said, calling the proposed judicial reforms “anti-patriotic and anti-Zionist.”

“If you continue down the path you are now taking, you will bear the responsibility for the eventual civil war in Israeli society,” he said.

“I am telling you this as clearly as possible: You have chosen audacity, but we will choose to fight you in a just struggle…

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“The plan you are pushing and enabling will cause catastrophic harm to national security, as well as to the personal sense of security of every citizen in every sector of the population….

“Without a strong, independent judiciary, Israel will be weak against our enemies and the effort to delegitimize us.”

Opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid also denounced the planned reforms Monday, which sparked demonstrations drawing thousands of left-wing protesters in Tel Aviv over the weekend, vowing to continue the “war over our home.”

“At this point we’re not even arguing with the government about politics. We are fighting for the continued existence of Israel, and for the basic idea of being able to live together, which this evil government mercilessly wants to crush,” he said.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party) pushed back on the Opposition’s attacks, accusing Lapid and Gantz of engaging in “wild personal attacks” on Justice Minister Yariv Levin.

“It is doubly sad when these harsh words and threats of civil war come from the highest political levels. I have said many times: I will never live a single day in a country without a strong and independent judiciary, a system which ensures personal rights, rather than advancing a radical left-wing agenda.”

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“From time immemorial, then and now, the nationalist camp has said no to civil war,” he added.

Netanyahu charged that Gantz’s statements were “a call to sedition from within the Knesset.”