Netanyahu hits back at Blue and White for criticizing his withdrawal from stage during rocket attack

“I don’t know where they rejoiced more: in Gaza, or at Lapid and Gantz. It’s impossible to know.” Netanyahu said.

By World Israel News Staff 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out Wednesday against his leading challenger in next Tuesday’s Knesset election, Blue and White, over its reaction to the interruption of a campaign speech by the prime minister in the southern port city of Ashdod on Tuesday night due to a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip.

“Netanyahu is finished and can leave the stage,” said MK Yair Lapid, number two on the Blue and White list, using a play on words to refer to the Shin Bet security order to Netanyahu to leave the podium until the danger from the attack was viewed as having passed.

The rocket siren wailed in the middle of Netanyahu’s address, after which the prime minister reportedly urged audience members to “quietly leave the area.”

A rocket was also fired at the nearby coastal city of Ashkelon. The Israeli military said that both projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.

“I don’t know where they rejoiced more: in Gaza, or at Lapid and Gantz. It’s impossible to know,” Netanyahu said in the Knesset on Wednesday, referring to the reaction by Blue and White, headed by MK Benny Gantz.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz told Kan public radio on Wednesday morning that once the Shin Bet decided that the prime minister had to step away during the attack, Netanyahu was forced to leave the stage because he is obliged to adhere to the security instructions.

Netanyahu’s Likud party issued a statement, slamming the Blue and White leadership for its reaction, noting that Gantz, as well as the third and fourth candidates on its list – Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi – are former IDF chiefs of staff.

“A low point of the elections: Three former IDF chiefs of staff are gloating over fire at the prime minister. Shameful,” said the Likud statement on Twitter.