Netanyahu blasts Defense Minister: ‘Blood of the dead will be on your hands’

The recordings, released by Kan News and Channel 12 simultaneously, offer a “rare glimpse” into how government decisions are made, Kan reports.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

In a stormy cabinet meeting on Thursday, of which recordings were leaked on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz engaged in a fierce verbal debate over the handling of the pandemic with the former saying, “If you don’t agree to an extension of the lockdown – the blood of the dead will be on your hands.”

The recordings, released by Kan News and Channel 12 simultaneously, offer a “rare glimpse” into how government decisions are made, Kan reports.

“Instead of a professional discussion, related to the health, life and choices of the citizens of the State of Israel – we received long hours of arguments between public leaders which would embarrass a kindergarten – and at the end, controversial decisions at the last minute, contrary to professionals’ position and without long-term planning,” Kan’s report said, in a biting criticism of the leaked debate.

“The public understands your game very well. It understands you are condemning many Israelis to serious illness and death,” Netanyahu said in the recording.

“Don’t tell me stories, don’t lecture me about responsibility for human lives. You are throwing sand in the public’s eyes,” Gantz replied.

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“The lives of many Israelis will be on your hands, Benny, don’t tell me stories,” Netanyahu retorted.

“All the other experts say that if we open now, deviate from the restrictions of the Ministry of Health and open the economy in a few days according to your proposal, they say it will lead to the death, that it will start soon… and thousands of thousands of Israelis will probably die,” Netanyahu added.

“They say it will go up to 8,000, to 16,000, and then to 32,000. Now it cannot be that you have not heard them, and yet, after hearing them, you come to a united position that you oppose, that you oppose the decisions of the Ministry of Health,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister accused Gantz of objecting as part of strategy in the run-up to the elections, which take place March 23.

“In these 50 days left until the election, I expect that you will always object to what we propose.” Netanyahu said.

The cabinet ultimately agreed to end the lockdown on Sunday. However, Ben Gurion Airport’s closure was extended until Feb. 20 in an attempt to keep out mutations of the disease.