Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated publicly on Tuesday for the first time that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not brief him about the deal with the United Arab Emirates until after it had been reached.

“I was updated after the decision was taken,” Gantz told reporters. “I think that it’s improper that I was not updated.”

When asked in a recent interview about reports that he had not let Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi know in advance about the imminent pact, Netanyahu replied, “Let them know? I’ve been dealing with this for years.”

“They’ve been here all of two months,” Netanyahu said, referring to the fact that Gantz and Ashkenazi, both from the Blue and White Party, have only been in the government since May 17, following their party’s signing of a national-unity deal with Netanyahu’s Likud.

“That was the [coalition] agreement—maintain discretion, to prevent Iran and others from torpedoing it,” said Netanyahu.

Asked whether he thought that his defense minister and foreign minister would have leaked something to Iran, Netanyahu answered: “Not to Iran. I didn’t say they would leak to Iran. They can speak with advisers, and this information could get out.”

“I have never leaked in my life,” Gantz said on Tuesday.

The Netanyahu-Gantz confrontation came as the Knesset passed the first reading of a bill on Monday to extend the Aug. 25 deadline for the government to pass a state budget. According to the coalition agreement, if the budget is not passed by that date, the Knesset automatically disbands and new elections are scheduled.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.