Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated that he could be the Prime Minister of Israel at any time, in an interview with the Walla website.
There have been rumors circulating that people within the Likud party have made overtures to Gantz, offering him the job of prime minister, that is, if he agrees to abandon the current coalition government and join a new one with the Likud party and its allies.
According to Israel Hayom reporter Mati Tuchfeld, if Gantz were to accept the offer it would not be before this current government passes a budget, so that he wouldn’t find himself in the same boat he was in just a few months ago with Netanyahu. But now, Tuchfeld writes, the offer that Netanyahu is currently considering offering, is for Gantz to be Prime Minister for the entire term with no rotation, with Netanyahu serving as Alternate-Prime Minister. A very sweet deal, indeed.
Gantz responded to the rumors saying, “This is known, I could be prime minister and I think I could be prime minister at any political point in time. I worked for this government to be established, I am working for this government to exist and that is what I will continue to do.”
“I will continue to look at my political intentions according to how the government is functioning and how the state needs it to function,” added the Defense Minister. “We’re talking about it because you asked, you asked – you got an answer, it’s up to you. The change in Israel was important, I supported it and I will continue to support it.”
Benny Gantz also had a few choice words about Naftali Bennett’s job performance so far as Prime Minister. When asked to compare Bennett so far to Benyamin Netanyahu’s performance in the job he said, “The work with Bennett [as Defense Minister] was fine, the work with Netanyahu was also fine. We knew how to manage the arguments, even when we fought very hard.”
In a veiled attack on Netanyahu Gantz said, “I am defined not by who I work with, but what work I must do. I work for the benefit of the State of Israel, I will do everything for the state. I do not miss anyone who puts his personal considerations in front of national considerations, I always put the considerations of the state [first]. My motto is ‘Israel before everything’ – is a way of life, statehood is a way of life.”
On his current relationship with Netanyahu, Gantz said, “We have no ongoing or active relationship. I respect him for what he has done and understand his oppositional personality that naturally happens. This is part of the political game.”
If nothing else, the offer increases his price to the Bennett-Lapid coalition, who will have to find other ways to keep him happy if they want to stay in power, especially as the government continues to fail in the eyes of much of the public.
And if Gantz does decide he would prefer to be prime minister, will Bennett and Lapid be willing to hand over their positions as Prime Minister to Gantz if it meant keeping Netanyahu from coming back to power?
JewishPress.com News Desk contributed to this report.