(March 25, 2019 / JNS) Former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in Israel’s national elections on April 9—denounced extremists both inside and outside the country’s borders, in addition to calling for unity.
In front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference on Monday, the retired army general said that were he to win, “there will be no Kahanists running our country, there will be no racists leading our state institutions, and there will be no corruption leading our ways—no corruption whatsoever.”
Gantz was referring to the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane and his Kach Party, an offshoot of which is the staunch nationalist Otzma Yehudit Party.
Netanyahu endorsed a merger last month of the religious Zionist Jewish Home and National Union parties with Otzma Yehudit in an effort to form a strong right-wing bloc.
The move was condemned by AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups.
Regarding extremists outside of Israel, Gantz insisted that he “will not hesitate” to use force against when necessary, particularly when it comes to Iran and its various proxies.
In the aftermath of Hamas launching a long-range missile on Monday into central Israel, Gantz called for the terrorist group to cease its activities.
“The reality in the south—as we unfortunately saw today where Israeli children spend their nights in bomb shelters while the heads of Hamas celebrate—must end now, and it will,” he said.
Finally, Gantz called for unity amid the ongoing campaign mudslinging.
“The divisive dialogue tearing our strong nation apart may serve—I doubt it, but it may serve—political purposes, but is shredding the fabric that holds us together,” he said.