Netanyahu Says He Would Not Appoint Gantz as Defense Minister if Reelected

'Benny Gantz who is collapsing under the pressure of an election campaign will be not be a defense minister in my government,' PM retorts

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during joint statements with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, March 20, 2019.
Sebastian Scheiner,AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that if he will be reelected in the April 9 ballot, he will not appoint his rival Benny Gantz as defense minister. 

Netanyahu made the statement following an interview Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan gave Channel 13 in which he clarified that the Kahol Lavan leader and former Israel Defense Forces chief has due credit when it comes to experience in the defense field, and that anyone who accepts the guiding foundations of a government headed by Likud would not be ruled out as a partner. 

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"Benny Gantz, who supports the dangerous nuclear agreement with Iran, who backs the uprooting of 90,000 settlers, who opposed the construction of the fence I erected along the border with Egypt which completely halted infiltration into Israel, who is making up blood libels against me and who is collapsing under the pressure of an election campaign  he will not be a defense minister in my government," Netanyahu said. 

When asked whether the ex-general was suitable to serve as defense minister, Erdan said in the interview: "He was also chief of staff, so let's not blow this up - no one is campaigning for him to be defense minister. First we will form a coalition with the national union [a right-wing bloc]." 

Erdan did say that Gantz "is not out of the question" for the role. 

Gantz himself said last week that he would not sit in a government headed by Netanyahu after the election, a day after a recording was published in which he could be heard saying that there is a chance he could join a Netanyahu-headed coalition.

"The remarks in the recording were made before the details of the grave indictment draft against Netanyahu were fully revealed, and definitely before it was known that he made 16 million shekels out of the submarines deal and lied to the public on defense issues," Gantz said in defense of the leaked recording. 

"I say it, not in an anonymous recording but rather loud and clear: I will not sit in a government with Netanyahu."