Israel Election: Likud Threatens Gantz Party Lawmaker With Embarrassing Tapes if She Doesn't Defect

In recording released week before Israel election, former Kahol Lavan adviser is heard quoting MK Omer Yankelevich as calling Benny Gantz a 'dumb loser unfit to be prime minister' ■ Likud denies allegation

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Kahol Lavan lawmaker Omer Yankelevich at the Knesset, 2019
Kahol Lavan lawmaker Omer Yankelevich at the Knesset, 2019. Day after Israel election Likud threatened her in bid to get her to defect.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party threatened Kahol Lavan lawmaker Omer Yankelevich that if she will not defect to a Likud-led coalition, more embarrassing recordings by her party's former strategic adviser will be released to the media.

In a recording released last week, former Kahol Lavan adviser Yisrael Bachar is heard quoting Yankelevich as having said Benny Gantz is a "dumb loser unfit to be prime minister."

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According to information obtained by Haaretz, Likud is holding onto additional recordings involving Yankelevich, which are said to contain sensitive details regarding her personal life, and is using them as a bargaining tool in negotiations.

In recent days, Likud has told Yenkelevich that she must defect to Likud. In exchange, the Bachar tapes won't be released.

Yankelevich did respond to a Haaretz query, but later tweeted: "It's all rumors, not going to happen." The Likud said in response: "Utter lie. Never was."

With 90 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu's Likud is two seats shy of a ruling majority. The party publicly admitted that it is working to recruit defectors from center-left parties, but denied the allegations in this report. 

According to sources, Yankelevich, who is no. 23 on the Kahol Lavan slate, has yet to reply to Likud's offer. However, her associates told Likud that she is mulling over the offer.

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