Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz on Tuesday morning responded to the new self-inflicted scandal he generated following a Monday night interview on Channel 13 TV, which played for him his recording saying the door to sitting in Netanyahu’s coalition government is “closed but not locked.”
Now Gantz says—on Kan, Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation News—that the statement about the closed but not locked door had been made before the news of the indictment against Netanyahu on corruption, and now that he is aware of those indictments – which the entire country had been anticipating for close to a year and are part of his platform points – now he’s definitely not going to join a Bibi coalition.
“I will not sit with Netanyahu in the government,” Gantz declared, but it was on radio so you couldn’t see if he was crossing his fingers.
Gantz insisted his door-related statement was made before the full details of the serious indictments against Netanyahu had been revealed, “and certainly before it turned out that he (Bibi) had received 16 million shekel ($4.5 million) in a spin-off deal on the submarines and lied to the public on serious security issues.”
“I declare, not in an anonymous recording, but openly and in my own voice: I will not sit with Netanyahu in the government!”
The submarines deal Gantz was referring to had to do with a conflict between Netanyahu and his then Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon over the IDF’s need for an additional “judgement day” submarine capable of hitting Iran with nuclear missiles should the Islamic Republic attack Israel with similar weapons. Israel already had two of those in the Persian Gulf, and Yaalon believed another half a million euro submarine was overkill. Later it turned out the police and the AG had known about another related corruption allegation, regarding Netanyahu giving his approval to Egypt’s purchasing the same submarines – possibly at the expense of Israel’s future security.
The AG’s decision not to pursue what was known as Case 3000 against Netanyahu has saved the PM from a possible charge of treason. Meanwhile, it has been widely publicized that one of Bibi’s cousins provided the steel for the German submarines and another cousin was the attorney collecting commissions on the same subs.
So now the door to a coalition with Netanyahu is definitely locked tight. But, of course, whenever Benny Gantz locks a door he unlocks a window…