Unravelling Upstart Undertakes Unbelievable U-turn, Urges Unity
There is never a dull moment in Israeli politics, and Tuesday was no exception, as Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz performed a spectacular 180, saying former partner and current bitter rival Yair Lapid could lead the center-left camp in the coming elections. Gantz, who heads the battered Blue and White party currently nosediving in the polls, split from Lapid last year to form a government with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and has since demeaned and disparaged the opposition leader and former friend, calling him a “hateful person” just last week. Blue and White’s disastrous poll numbers, however, have forced Gantz – barely two years in politics – to recalculate, and in a surprise mea culpa presser on Monday he implored his many center-left partners to reunite and run as one party in the March elections. Going as far as saying Lapid was capable of leading the wing in a subsequent interview Tuesday, Gantz also admitted he was wrong to trust Netanyahu and was mistaken in believing the prime minister would keep his side of the bargain and step aside after 18 months to hand Gantz the government reins, as the two agreed on.