Education Minister and New Right chairman Naftali Bennett on Saturday night attacked Resilience to Israel chairman Benny Gantz harshly on Meet the Press with host Rina Matzliah, saying: “His strategy of playing for a draw is dangerous for Israel.”
Gantz, for his part, returned an attack, saying: “Anyone who surrenders and transfers suitcases full of cash to Hamas better off keep quiet.”
Bennett presented a case in which Netanyahu was clearly bound to be Israel’s next prime minister, “the question is who will be in the cabinet alongside Netanyahu – Gantz or Bennett. Gantz is a good man, but his strategy of playing for a draw is dangerous for Israel.”
Shortly after the show, Bennett issues another statement: “General Draw who prefers the lives of the enemies over the lives of Golani [brigade] soldiers should stick to tweeting, because winning is not his thing.”
Bennett was referring to a speech Gantz carried in 2015 (see: Gantz: I Risked Israeli Soldiers’ Lives to Save Gaza Strip Arabs), shortly after his discharge from the IDF, in which he said that during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, he risked Golani brigade soldiers for fear of harming the residents of Shuja’iyya in the Gaza Strip.
Bennett also commented on reports of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s involvement in negative coverage of Bennett’s wife and late father. The New Right leader reminded the host that he had responded sharply to those personal attacks on his family, but stressed that he won’t focus on this old news and would rather deal with the urgent need to create a strong, right-wing government led by Netanyahu, with Bennett next to him to keep the PM from sliding to the left.
On Netanyahu’s new attacks on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Bennett said that “Netanyahu can run whatever campaign he wishes.” At the same time, Bennett defended the AG, saying, “I’ve known him for years. He is honest, professional and decent. I back him up and trust his judgment – whatever he decides will be acceptable to me.”