(February 23, 2020 / Israel Hayom) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said over the weekend that his Likud Party’s main rival, Blue and White, would not follow through on the U.S. “Peace to Prosperity” plan if it wins Israel’s March 2 election. He also castigated two of Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s senior advisers for comparing U.S. President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.
In a special interview with Mark Levin, the host of Fox News show “Life, Liberty & Levin,” Netanyahu explained that Blue and White is “a leftist party in disguise. Remember, the majority of Israelis are right and center-right. So in order to get center-right voters, they [Blue and White] pretend to be a center-right party.”
Israel’s March 2 general election will be its third within a 12-month period, after Netanyahu and Gantz both failed to form a majority coalition following the April 9 and Sept. 17 contests. Recent polls give Blue and White a razor-thin advantage in terms of votes, but give the Likud-led right-wing bloc a higher chance of forming a coalition. As in the April and September votes, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman may hold the key to resolving the prolonged electoral crisis.
Netanyahu warned that Blue and White would fail to follow through on the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan.
“This is a terrific plan … that’s very good for Israel—it has Israel applying Israeli law, adding to Israel’s sovereign territory important places like the Jordan Valley, which is a strategic buffer against invasion and the smuggling of weapons from the east; it recognizes the legitimacy and sovereignty of Israeli over communities in our ancestral homeland in Judea and Samaria,” he said.
However, he added, the plan “is completely anathema to Blue and White, and their leaders said the opposite just a few months ago. But when the Trump plan came out, they said, ‘Oh, we’re for the Trump plan.’
“There’s only one problem with that: A, they’re not. B, they’ve said horrible things about President Trump just before the Trump plan was announced, like comparing him to Hitler. And three, they’re dependent on the support in the Knesset, in our parliament, to form a government, on the Joint Arab List that says to them: ‘If you actually accept the Trump plan, you won’t be prime minister.’ So they’re not going to adopt the Trump plan.”
This, the prime minister continued, “would be a historic miss. The ‘deal of the century,’ the opportunity of the century; we’re never going to have something like this [again], and the only one who will implement it, is me.”
Israel’s voters, said Netanyahu, understand the stakes.
“I think the voters are getting that message. We have a historic opportunity; I don’t intend to miss it. I intend to do it, but the only way that I can do it is to be elected prime minister, and that’s what I tell the voters,” he told Levin.
“The other guy,” Netanyahu said, referring to Gantz, “is dependent on the Joint Arab List, which refuses to recognize the State of Israel and will certainly not support the Trump plan in any way.”
‘One big con job’
Netanyahu said the two Gantz advisers who compared Trump to Hitler “are the guys who give him the lines,” adding that he has “asked [Gantz] to fire them. But he wouldn’t.”
Levin responded: “I’m familiar with this. Two staffers who refer to our president in one way or another as Hitler, and Mr. Gantz keeps them on board as senior advisers.”
Netanyahu said that Gantz was “being fed by two people. One is an Israeli adviser called Ronen Tzur, he compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler. It’s incredible—the greatest friend we’ve ever had in the White House, he’s compared him to Adolf Hitler.”
The second person, said Netanyahu, “is an American adviser, he’s Joel Benenson. … He worked for Obama. But he, too, did something which I think is illegitimate. He, too, compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler.”
Tzur is a former Knesset member, while Benenson advised not only former U.S. President Barack Obama, but also presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
“These are the two closest advisers of Benny Gantz, who tell him what to say, when to say it, and so on,” stressed Netanyahu. “They’re [Blue and White] putting on an act. As though they’re for the Trump plan. These people, who call President Trump Hitler, are for President Trump’s plan. Give me a break. So this is one big con job, that’s what it is.”
The complete interview will air on Fox News on Sunday evening.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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