The Blue and White leader, who agreed to split the premiership with Yair Lapid, this week said he might agree to rotate the position with Benjamin Netanyahu. He then backtracked.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Blue and White party head Benny Gantz angered his colleagues this week when he told Ynet that he would be willing to consider the idea of a rotating premiership with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the September elections.
Asked if he’d been offered such a rotation after the April election, which ended with Netanyahu unable to form a right-wing coalition, the opposition leader’s answer seemed to indicate that he was willing to break his promise to Yair Lapid, a co-leader of Blue and White that he would share the prime minister’s seat with him on a rotating basis.
“I don’t think Netanyahu took that risk on himself, but if Netanyahu wants to offer a rotation in which I go first, we can start speaking about the details,” Gantz said.
Senior party officials immediately attacked what they called Gantz’s “zigzagging.”
“The question to be asked is where does this remark… put his rotation with Lapid? Should we stand behind the Benny of last week or the Benny of today?” one party member told Israel Hayom.
“There’s no unified line in Blue and White,” another said, “and the confusion is doing a lot of damage… The right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.”
Party members are also angry that “we are updated by the media” and do not get instructions from the leadership about how to react.
A third explained that Gantz would find support for the rotation idea if he decided to take that course of action, but it creates trouble because it clashes with the line the party has taken since it was established.
What happened to ‘Just Not Bibi’?
“The problem is that for the last month, and even prior to that, we got instructions to repeat ‘Just Not Bibi’ – and suddenly the picture completely changes, so we look idiotic and not unified.”
As another party member put it bluntly, “Man, decide what you want!”
Meanwhile, Gantz himself backtracked on Twitter a few hours after the interview, writing, “Blue and White will form the next government which will call for unity – without Netanyahu.”
Blue and White also put out a clarification saying that the party “will not sit under a prime minister with three serious indictments” and “will honor its agreements and promises.”
In addition, according to The Jerusalem Post, sources close to the former IDF chief of staff explained that Gantz had only been “speaking cynically about an extremely hypothetical and unlikely scenario in which Netanyahu agreed to serve for two years as Gantz’s transportation minister.”