In the closed portion of a Blue and White Party faction meeting last week, Defense Minister Benny Gantz read out a WhatsApp message that had gone viral across the country, containing threats by anonymous, ostensibly Arab elements to take control of the country. According to Gantz, the authors of the message were correct, and the future Jewish state could ultimately lie “between Gedera and Hadera.”

The message reads: “Keep cursing; you have no chance against Allah. Slowly but surely we are taking bites out of your state. What will you do? This is Palestinian territory in actuality, and the moment one tractor comes—we will use the left-wing organizations such as ‘Peace Now’ and ‘B’Tselem,’ who will go to the country’s true ruler (the High Court of Justice) to issue an injunction. We will send children and teenagers to throw stones and barricade themselves in until you scatter away like mice.

“The Galilee, with the grace of Allah, will also be ours soon. We are buying one dunam [0.2 acres] from the [Israel Land Authority] for 50,000 shekels [$14,677] while the Jew buys [one dunam] for 1,150,000 shekels [$337,577]. Already today we are 85% of the Galilee population and are quickly seizing control, building homes in every corner without permits. Who’s going to do anything about it? The Jews who live in the Galilee all flee to the center of the country because they suffer from harassment, violence on the roads, protection [rackets], shootings, theft and robbery.

“The government tells you the Galilee and Negev are Jewish; I tell you that in reality, this is Palestinian territory. Any new business in the Negev is paying us a protection tax, every neighborhood that is built won’t be built without paying protection.”

After reading out the message, Gantz said that whoever the author or authors were, the message was not wrong.

“This isn’t far from the reality,” Gantz said at the meeting. “I believe that in a few more years we’ll be in a situation where the Jewish state will be between Gedera and Hadera. We are a few years away from this,” he added.

A spokesman for the defense minister said in a statement: “Without getting into what was said in a closed-door meeting, the defense minister has said many times that Israel must be looked at through the vision of decades forward and that a [special] authority must be established to help Israel prepare for half of its population to live in the Negev and Galilee. There’s supreme importance in maintaining law and order in the south and north, giving equal treatment, developing all the populations in terms of employment opportunities, improving infrastructure, education and health.”

At Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, meanwhile, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of not giving his ministers enough credit. The defense minister said he was angry because most of Bennett’s speech at the beginning of the meeting focused on security matters, and yet the prime minister had not mentioned Gantz at all.

“Many people deserve credit for the work the government is doing, but when the cameras were on you only talked about ‘me, me and me,'” said Gantz. “I’m in the room and you are treating me as if I’m the welfare minister. You should have mentioned me,” he added.

Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen of Yesh Atid took offense at Gantz’s comments, saying, “It’s infuriating. Disrespecting the job of the welfare minister is the same as disrespecting the citizens of Israel.”

Bennett, for his part, responded that he regularly compliments his ministers.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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