I find it hard to believe Benny Gantz’s claims that his life has been threatened by leftist activists. Gantz has come by his distrust of the left honestly, which is to say dishonestly. He is a man who has behaved with extreme dishonesty.
Gantz led an entire political camp into a fateful election under a single, unified banner: Replacing Benjamin Netanyahu. The public awarded him 33 seats in the Knesset based on his promise not to enter a government with Netanyahu, and he went on to do just that. If Gantz is now claiming that this act of fraud has incited threats against his life, then I request that he reveal them. Until then, he is tarnishing an entire political camp with a very serious accusation.
“I received threats when we proposed forming a government with the support of the Joint List two years ago, and I received the same threats again after forming the previous government,” Gantz said this week at the Israel Democracy Conference. “I was defined as a highly threatened figure by the security services. I have to switch phones every two months, and that’s due to people on the left, not the right. It pains me to say it.”
So not only does he claim to have received death threats from the left after selling his million voters to Netanyahu, but this phenomenon continued even after the establishment of the “change government.” Every two months he has to change his phone. Not because of the Iranians, because of the lefties. It’s terrible. It demands a response from the left. Gantz must reveal the threats. Surely they are documented, have been handed to the Shin Bet security service, the police, and other authorities. Threatening an alternate prime minister and defense minister is a serious matter. These people must be apprehended, arrested, and denounced before it’s too late.
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Maybe Gantz is confused. He has a reputation for being a little disoriented. It was a tumultuous time. There was a massive political upheaval, and he was the star.
In a supreme effort, the camp he led came within spitting distance of forming a government with the support of the Joint List, or at least replacing the Knesset speaker and beginning to pass legislation to save democracy. Then Yuli Edelstein refused to convene the elected Knesset. It was a mess. Protesters with black flags surrounded the legislature. Suddenly strange rumors began trickling out, signs of feebleness and timidity. Gantz addressed the Knesset members from his party who refused to vacate the floor and asked them to leave “out of respect for the Knesset ushers.” Something strange was in the air.
We went home with a bad feeling. That night, I couldn’t sleep. My body sensed that something was wrong before my mind could. The next day, as it turned out, he decided to “get under the gurney” with Netanyahu. We saved the country, he said. We must prevent another election.
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The demonstrations moved to Rosh Ha’Ayin, to the villa-strewn neighborhood where he lives. I’ve been there a few times. The road leading into town still had huge billboards showing Gantz with Odeh and Tibi, replete with red headlines, blood spatters and all the usual incitement against a government with Arabs. It was surreal, because in the meantime Gantz had already buckled under the incitement. The rage at the protests was mighty. There was an atmosphere of shock and frustration. There were no threats. The police, as usual, handled the protesters aggressively. To Gantz’s credit, he recognized the right to protest against him at the time.
But when he claims that lefties have been threatening his life ever since, he once again joins with Netanyahu’s supporters. That, after all, is their perennial claim, from Galit Distal Atbaryan to Gideon Levy: That there is no difference, that there was horrible incitement against Netanyahu and his family, that the Balfour protesters wanted to pull a repeat of the January 6 Capitol insurrection. That is a complete lie.
That’s not to say there’s no verbal violence and hyperbole on the left as well. There is. Often, by the way, it is directed at our own forces. It’s a toxic age. “We’re living in a broken, devastated, and cultureless country,” was how Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Nir Klinger put it this week. But there is no symmetry. Physical violence, guns and grenades, have only been deployed from the right against the left. If Gantz is facing death threats from the left, that’s a dramatic change. Let him prove it.