Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz said Monday that Israelis have not learned any lessons from the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin amid threats against Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and his No. 2 Ayelet Shaked as they scramble to reach a coalition deal with Yair Lapid.
“The fact that elected officials participating in the democratic process have come under threat raises major concerns that we haven’t learned any lessons, neither about baseless hatred from Jewish history nor from the Rabin assassination,” Gantz told a conference of lawyers in the southern city of Eilat, referring to the impending formation of a new government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Shaked was assigned a security detail Sunday night after Bennett announced that he was working with Lapid to secure a coalition deal. She and Bennett have been subjected to increasing pressure, including raucous demonstrations in front of their homes, to break off coalition talks and join a government led by Netanyahu.
“We are now, I hope, on the cusp of forming a new government,” he said. “Like Israeli society, it will encompass considerable political diversity, but with a basic common denominator of a desire for unity and social responsibility," Gantz said.
Gantz, who is expected to retain his post as defense minister in the Bennett-Lapid government, rejected Netanyahu’s claim that the new government would be unable to cope with the security threats that Israel faces.
“My colleagues and I stood firm against the intimidation of public servants, attempts to restrict the right to demonstrate and disrespect for High Court rulings,"Gantz said.
“We stood up against attempts to undermine the rule of law, led by the Justice Ministry, for personal and political reasons. We have reached a dangerous point: There has been no permanent state prosecutor for a year and a half, nor does the ministry have a permanent director general.
"Right now, we have one unfilled deputy attorney general post and several other deputies are due to step down shortly. In addition, there are many senior jobs in the ministry held by acting officials who are worthy and dedicated but have not been given permanent appointments for irrelevant reasons – the goal is to undermine the ministry,” Gantz said.
The Kahol Lavan leader noted that Netanyahu had sought to avoid naming a permanent justice minister, but he vowed to continue defending the ministry. “The situation of a ‘ministry on hold’ must end,” he said.
“These attempts at undermining the justice system hurt us all. The hundreds of government appointments that have been delayed, the government ministries that have been working for two years without a budget and the attempts to undercut [government] watchdogs have become our morning news,” Gantz said.