Gantz, uninvited to ceremony: ‘I don’t have to sit as an extra and applaud’

“It’s okay that the prime minister traveled alone to Washington,” Gantz said.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Sounding a bit like sour grapes, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz addressed that fact that he wasn’t invited to attend the White House signing ceremony between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, in an interview with Channel 11 on Monday.

“It’s okay that the prime minister traveled alone to Washington. I don’t have to sit as an extra and applaud. I have a lot of work to do here,” Gantz said.

Gantz likely worried about playing second fiddle to Netanyahu. Ostensible partners in the same  government, they remain rivals in a coalition that has been rocky from the start and appears at times barely functioning.

It was apparently the fear of appearing to be upstaged by the prime minister that led Gantz to decide not to attend another ceremony at the White House, that one in January, in the middle of a hotly contested Israeli election campaign. Instead, Gantz held a one-on-one meeting with President Donald Trump ahead of the release of the U.S. Mideast peace plan.

Gantz currently serves as defense minister. He is slated to become prime minister in November 2021 according to the coalition agreement, assuming the government survives long enough.

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Gantz had led the opposition against Netanyahu in the last three elections. His decision in March to join the Likud leader in a national emergency government to combat the coronavirus pandemic split Blue and White, with its partners, the Yesh Atid and Telem parties, remaining in the opposition.

“We will take care of the health crisis. We will lift the country out of economic trauma,” Gantz said at the time.

Gantz was left with 14 Knesset seats. Polls have shown the party in free fall since. An August poll by Channel 13 shows the party with only eight seats.