Gantz Fires Campaign Strategist After He Was Caught Calling Him a ‘Danger to Israel’

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Benny Gantz at a Kahol Lavan faction meeting in the Knesset, December 9, 2019.
Benny Gantz at a Kahol Lavan faction meeting in the Knesset, December 9, 2019.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz fired his campaign strategist on Friday after a recording in which Yisrael Bachar was heard criticizing him was leaked to the media. 

In the recordings, published by Israel's Channel 12 News on Thursday — less than a week before Israelis head to the polls — the strategist was heard telling an anonymous source that his boss might "endanger the people of Israel," and that he "doesn't have the guts to strike in Iran."

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The adviser to the former army chief was also heard saying that a Kahol Lavan lawmaker had harshly criticized the leader of her party. "She [Knesset member Omer Yankelevich of Kahol Lavan] says that he's stupid and a total loser and that he shouldn't be prime minister." 

When the associate responded to Bachar by saying that Kahol Lavan will "cause a bad decision to be made" and stop "an attempt to strike in Iran," Bachar replied: "I know, that's the guy."

Gantz said on Friday that Bachar had been the victim of a planned ambush that included “personal exploitation, the use of improper means and fraud,” adding that he will take legal action on the matter. “The manipulative involvement of political entities will also be revealed soon,” said Gantz

MK Yankelevich denied saying what Bachar attributed to her.

A spokesman on bealf of strategic adviser Bachar stated: “The incident reported is part of a campaign of fraud and attempted deceit, which reached new heights of disgrace. In light of the report that attacks Gantz’s good name, I accept his decision to end my role on the campaign team,” said a spokesman of Bachar.

Bachar had previously served as adviser to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, before going on to man the role for Kahol Lavan in both the April and September election campaigns. 

In an interview with Channel 13 News ahead of the April 9 election, Bachar said he believed the leaking of private conversations in Kahol Lavan headquarters had caused the party "to lose two to three Knesset seats."

As for Gantz, Bachar said "the disadvantage of all new candidates is that they have to brand themselves as soon as possible, while convincing the public that they're really what they are portraying themselves to be."

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