In the wake of a firestorm of controversy resulting from the leak of a recording in which Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz revealed that he would consider inviting Likud to join a unity government if his party wins the upcoming election, Gantz has retracted, stating that he would not be willing to form a coalition with Israel’s current prime minister.

In a response to the announcement of an upcoming indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Gantz told a press conference that he would not form a coalition with Netanyahu in light of the accusations that Netanyahu committed acts of fraud and breach of trust.

However, a recording broadcast by Channel 13 on Monday evening appeared to show Gantz telling close confidants that he would consider such a merger if he won the election.

“I chose the words ‘given the circumstances’ [in the Feb. 28 statement] in order not to completely close the door [on a coalition with Likud] and lock it. The door is closed, but not locked,” he said.

Gantz attempted to defend the statements on Tuesday morning, saying they were made “before the full details of the severe charges against Netanyahu were revealed, and definitely before it turned out he received NIS 16 million in a round-trip trade on the submarines and lied to the public on serious security matters.”

“I am saying, not in an anonymous recording but openly and in my voice: I won’t sit with Netanyahu in the government!” he declared.