Soul-searching in Blue and White: ‘A colossal failure’

Another official told Israel Hayom, “Our sleepy campaign. We ate it.”

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Blue and White leaders started soul-searching following their painful trouncing by the Likud party on Monday. With 90% of the vote counted, the Likud leads 36-to-32.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said in his speech to followers in Tel Aviv on Monday night, “I understand the disappointment.”

Israel’s Yediot Ahronot reported on Tuesday that the atmosphere among Blue and White leaders was already low at the start of election day on Monday. Indications from polls, social media and their rival the Likud already had them worried.

Even as the party leaders tried to project optimism on Monday, some of their members were prepared to admit the situation looked bleak, the paper reported.

“We have to tell the truth: This is the failure of Blue and White,” said MK Ofer Shelah.

MK Yoaz Hendel said, “It could be that the campaign of indictments against Netanyahu didn’t catch on. But this was our truth.”

Blue and White’s focus on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid for immunity from prosecution may have been the party’s undoing. Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges, abruptly withdrew his immunity request, pulling the rug out from under Blue and White’s campaign.

“The campaign was bad. We were grabbed by Netanyahu but we didn’t push,” a senior Blue and White official told Israel Hayom.

“There was too much statesmanship. This cost us in the elections. We remembered two days before to be aggressive,” he said.

Another official told Israel Hayom, “Our sleepy campaign. We ate it.”

Yediot reports that other senior party members called the election results “a colossal failure.” The future of the party is now in doubt. Blue and White, a faction compromising several parties, may not survive the strain.

The paper quotes one insider saying, “Blue and White was a party of consultants and strategists and not politicians.”

Another senior official regretted that the party had not joined the Likud when it had the chance.

“The big political mistake was not to enter a national unity government because in two weeks he could have entered the prime minister’s office and replaced Netanyahu,” he said, referring to Gantz.

The former IDF chief of staff cut a fine figure, tall and good-looking with blue eyes, but his campaign faltered and a series of awkward moments in interviews and speeches when he garbled, mixed up words and phrases, and forgot peoples’ names did not go unnoticed by Israel’s public.