Gantz Says He Won't Sit in Coalition With Netanyahu After Recording Leaked

In a recording leaked on Monday, the Kahol Lavan leader didn't rule out sitting in a Netanyahu-led coalition, but now says remarks were made prior to details of the prime minister's draft indictment were released

Benny Gantz during a press conference, March 18, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

Benny Gantz will not sit in the same government as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite a leaked recording suggesting that he might be willing to do so, the head of the Kahol Lavan party said on Tuesday.

The statements in the recording aired on television on Monday were made “before the details of the serious indictments against Netanyahu were revealed in full and certainly before it was known that he received 16 million shekels [$4.4 million] in a backhanded deal for submarines and lied to the public on serious security matters,” Gantz said.

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“I am saying, not in an anonymous recording but openly and in my voice: I will not sit with Netanyahu in the government,” he added.

In the recording of internal Kahol Lavan discussions, which was broadcast on Israel's Channel 13 news Monday evening, Gantz referred to a previous speech in which he said he would not sit with Netanyahu. In the recording, he qualified this statement, saying he had deliberately chosen “the words ‘in the situation that has been created’ so as not to close the door all the way and lock it. It will be closed, but not locked.

“As we’ve seen, life is dynamic, the situation can change,” he continued. “Trump will unveil his [peace] plan, I will win, Trump will unveil his plan. Good, so now what?” the former IDF chief of staff is heard saying in the recording.

Charging that Netanyahu “has simply sold out the country” and, if re-elected, would pass a law to ensure that he couldn’t be indicted for current charges of corruption while in office, Gantz continued: “So am I now going to be apathetic to this situation and not sell my soul and not form a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox? I’m sending you a blank sheet of paper, signed at the bottom ‘Benny Gantz.’ Two thirds of the page is yours; fill it out below with whatever you want. Leave me one-third, I’ll fill it with what I want.”