Blue and White Leaders Accuse Netanyahu of ‘Incitement to Violence’
Leaders of the Israel’s Blue and White political union assailed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for warning supporters of his Likud party that a Benny-Gantz-led minority government backed from the outside by the Joint (Arab) List would be tantamount to a “national historic terror attack” against Israel. At Sunday’s rally, Netanyahu claimed that such an alliance would constitute an “existential threat” to the Jewish state, as it would be backed by “terrorist supporters” bent on “destroying our country.” In response, Blue and White’s No. 2, Yair Lapid, said: “The words coming out of Netanyahu’s mouth in the past few days are incitement to violence. They are words spoken by followers of Baruch Goldstein [a Jewish extremist who in 1994 massacred 29 Muslims at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron], not by a prime minister.” Lapid’s comments were echoed by Blue and White chief Gantz, who added that he had “come to understand that he’s been talking to a wall,” a reference to unity-coalition negotiations with the Likud. Gantz nevertheless renewed his call for Netanyahu to abandon a bloc of 55 right-wing and ultra-Orthodox politicians and discuss the prospects of forming a unity government ahead of Wednesday’s deadline. “Instead of frightening and scaring others, let’s talk,” Gantz insisted. “Instead of inciting and dividing, let’s talk. Let’s sit down and reach a compromise that can truly serve all of Israel’s citizens.” Meanwhile, Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, also weighed in, accusing Netanyahu of “attempting to set off a civil war.” He continued: “There has never been a prime minister that earned so much from division, hatred and racism. The more Jews and Arabs hate each other, the more he earns. His only hope is our despair.” Unless the political impasse is somehow bridged, Israelis could be forced to return to the polls for the third time in less than a year in early 2020.