Editorial

Gantz Refuses to Be an Alternative

Why is a man presuming to offer an alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule unwilling to expose his position on the most critical issue in Israel?

Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Kahol Lavan political alliance, greets supporters in Haifa on March 17, 2019.
MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP

Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz was interviewed on the three main television networks on Wednesday. His answers to most questions were businesslike, moderate and reasonable. But Gantz failed in two fundamental issues, and such failures cannot be taken lying down.

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First, in all the interviews he evaded giving a direct answer, which would clarify whether he and his ticket support the two-state solution. Hard to believe, but such a basic question was left without an answer, apart from evasive, cowardly beating around the bush.

Why is a man presuming to offer an alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule unwilling to expose his position on the most critical issue – a solution to the Palestinian problem? How is it possible that someone purporting to replace Netanyahu, and to be more moderate than him, doesn’t dare to express support for a solution even Netanyahu supported?

The only substitute for the two-state solution is the one-state solution. It is doubtful that Gantz intends to adopt it. His evasiveness regarding support for the only solution left does not raise much hope for the heir presumptive’s diplomatic courage.

Gantz’s position regarding the Arab parties is even worse. He said he would have no political discourse with them. “The political leadership of Israel’s Arabs has made a big mistake. It speaks out against the State of Israel, so I cannot have a political discourse with it,” he told Channel 11. By so doing Gantz has joined the right, which a priori excludes the legitimate representation of Israel’s Arab citizens in the Knesset.

Also, by disqualifying them, Gantz has in fact declared that he is giving up the chance to set up a government under his leadership. Are we to deduce from that that he aspires to serve as defense minister in Netanyahu’s government? Because in the current reality there is not and will not be any way to prevent another term of Netanyahu as prime minister without including the Arab parties’ votes. Ruling them out in advance as though they were lepers raises the suspicion that Gantz isn’t seriously planning to oust Netanyahu.

Gantz is the only one who can overthrow Netanyahu. Anyone who can no longer put up with Likud’s continued rule should be worried by this abject stance, which renounces in advance any chance for change.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.