(November 3, 2020 / Israel Hayom) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday demanded that lawmakers from his Blue and White faction undergo polygraph testing following a leak from a meeting during which he admitted he does not expect Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to honor the rotation agreement that would see Gantz become Israel’s premier in late 2021.
According to Channel 12 News, the statement was made during a meeting at Gantz’s home with the core founding members of his Israel Resilience Party to discuss whether Blue and White should exit the coalition over the constant tensions with Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
“I understand that I won’t get the rotation. … I won’t believe Netanyahu even for a day before it happens,” Gantz reportedly said during the meeting.
The Blue and White leader’s unusual demand sparked outrage among faction members. One Knesset member told Channel 12 that “someone seems to have forgotten that this is politics, not the General Staff.” (Gantz is a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces.)
Those present at Sunday’s meeting reportedly could not agree on whether Blue and White should exit the coalition at this time. Gantz told the gathering that if he could find a way to make the government work, he would remain, “and if not, I am prepared to pay with my seat.”
A Likud statement following the Channel 12 report said, “This is not the time for division. This is not the time for petty politics.”
Also on Monday, the national-religious Yamina faction said it would support a bill by opposition leader Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) to dissolve the Knesset and hold early elections while criticizing Blue and White for remaining in the coalition despite the looming budget crisis.
Recent polls project Yamina could pose an actual challenge to Likud in the next elections.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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