Hosen L'Yisrael Chairman Benny Gantz defended the 2005 disengagement from Gaza in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth published Wednesday morning, drawing fire from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others.
Gantz said the disengagement "was a legal process, a decision made by Israel's government and carried out by the army and the settlers in a painful way, but a good one. We need to take the lessons we learned there and enact them elsewhere."
Pointing to Gantz's comment, Netanyahu wrote on Facebook that Gantz sought to establish a left-wing government by preventing the right from obtaining a majority bloc, with the help of majority-Arab parties.
In response, Hosen L'Yisrael said that "Netanyahu, who voted in favor of the disengagement, and Regev, who touted it with a smile on her face, will not lecture us about diplomatic and security responsibility. A Gantz government will not take any unilateral steps related to evacuation of communities."
The Hayamin Hehadash party led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked criticized Gantz on Twitter, writing, "We thank Gantz for removing the mask. Benny Gantz is outflanking [Labor Chairman Avi] Gabbay from the left and wants to expel more Jews from their homes during a unilateral disengagement from Judea and Samaria."
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In the interview, Gantz also said that Israel must not and does not seek to "rule over others."
"The main question is one of security," Gantz said when asked about his relationship with fellow former Army Chief Moshe Ya'alon, whose Telem party has merged with Hosen L'Yisrael." [Any dialogue] must safeguard Israel from a security standpoint. Now, there is a question of interests. We – even Bibi said so in the speech at Bar Ilan University – are not trying to rule over anyone else."
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Gantz, who has been touted as the only real contender to challenge the prime minister, said of Netanyahu that he "doesn't hate him," however he thinks that his "time has come to step down respectfully."
"Netanyahu took the hardest job in the State of Israel. As someone who truly gave of himself for the nation, I esteem him as a patriot. Let me be clear: I don't hate Bibi. I've seen him from distances of several meters and less. The man is the prime minister of Israel, I don't hate him. But I do think that his time has come to step down respectfully," Gantz said.
Gants reiterated that he would not sit in a Netanyahu government if the prime minister is indicted. He added, "I intend to win and to solve the issue that way. This will end there."
Gantz continued, "I intend to win. I respect the choice of the people and I respect the law. It doesn't seem reasonable to have a situation in which the prime minister serves under indictment."