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Gantz Sets Off Political Firestorm with Brief Comment

Smotrich Elected to Lead National Union

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Posted on: 
15 Jan 2019 (All day)
Gantz Sets Off Political Firestorm with Brief Comment
Israel’s pre-election scene was in an uproar Tuesday following a brief statement by former IDF Chief of Staff and leader of the new Israeli Resilience Party Benny Gantz, who told a group of leaders from the Druze community that he would work to “fix” the ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’ passed last year in the Knesset. The statement, the first by Gantz as he attempts to launch a political career, set off a firestorm of praise and criticism from his opponents all over the political map. "Gantz's first statement in politics makes it clear - Gantz is a member of the Left," tweeted a spokesperson for the “New Right” Party led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. "The Nation-State Law is a historic achievement that reestablishes the state's national, Jewish and Zionist character in the face of ongoing erosion caused by the High Court of Justice. The Gantz plan to change the Nation-State Law clarifies his position."

"When Gantz attacks the Nation-State Law and Tzipi Livni commends him for it, everyone knows what was obvious: Gantz is Left, just like Lapid," said a statement by Likud.

"Remember that day when the Likud turns the Declaration of Independence into something of the Left," Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni said. "The Hatnua Party under my leadership is fighting for a state that is both Jewish and democratic, something that isn't obvious anymore. That is what this election is about."

"Gantz, you are right - equality must be added to the Nation-State Law," Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said, "but it can't be done from within a Netanyahu government. I know, I was there. Do not despair, you can make a change. Commit not to sit in Netanyahu's government."

Later on Monday, a recording was leaked to the media in which Gabbay pronounced that "We have no problem with Gantz. He speaks the same language, has the same values and stances as us. But those screaming bloc, bloc bloc weaken themselves, and don’t believe in themselves."

In other political news, MK Bezalel Smotrich was elected leader of the National Union party Monday evening by the factions central committee, defeating Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel by receiving more than twice as many votes.

“I call on my friends in Bayit Yehudi: Let’s reconnect,” Smotrich said. “This is the time for unity. I hope that our friends in Bayit Yehudi will steady their ship quickly, build their list and reconnect [with the National Union]…My friends, we go from here to unite religious Zionism, to consolidate it and to bring it home.”