Blue and White removes Gantz anti-Netanyahu clips, Yesh Atid said to repost them
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Blue and White removes Gantz anti-Netanyahu clips, Yesh Atid said to repost them

Opposition activists reportedly kept access to YouTube account from joint election run; report comes amid resurfacing of tensions with Likud following Regev slight of Gantz

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz after the presentation of the 35th government of Israel at the Knesset, May 17, 2020. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)
Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz after the presentation of the 35th government of Israel at the Knesset, May 17, 2020. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

A few days after Blue and White removed the videos it had posted on YouTube during the recent election campaign in which Defense Minister Benny Gantz slammed his now coalition partner Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the clips reemerged online Thursday.

Channel 12 reported the video clips were reposted by Yesh Atid activists who had access to the account from the joint run with Blue and White before Gantz split the list to join a government led by Netanyahu.

There was no comment from either party.

Since coming together to form a national unity government, Gantz and Netanyahu have refrained from the mutual mudslinging that characterized the three rounds of elections prior to a deal being struck.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) attend a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. (Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP)

However relations appeared tested on Wednesday when Gantz cut short a meeting with Netanyahu after learning of an interview given by Miri Regev in which the Likud transportation minister called the Blue and White leader “half-baked” and said he was not ready to take on the role of prime minister.

According to the Blue and White-Likud coalition agreement, Gantz will replace Netanyahu as prime minister after 18 months, in November 2021, at which point Regev is slated to become foreign minister.

A few hours later, Gantz and Netanyahu met again, and Channel 13 quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying that the two had straightened things out.

Gantz and Netanyahu fought a sometimes acrimonious battle for the leadership of the country that played out over three rounds of elections and a near year-and-a-half long political stalemate.

During that time the two traded mutual accusations and mudslinging, with Gantz frequently accusing Netanyahu of doing anything to avoid standing trial for corruption and vowing he wouldn’t sit in a coalition with him due to the graft charges.

The video clip revelation came after Yesh Atid head and opposition leader Yair Lapid said Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Asheknazi “chose the right to remain silent” in response to Netanyahu’s remarks criticizing the judicial system ahead of his trial which began Sunday.

Yair Lapid (left) and Benny Gantz speak to supporters in Tel Aviv, on February 20, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Gantz had campaigned for an end to Netanyahu’s tenure over the criminal charges he faces, but on Sunday issued an extremely toned-down statement.

“Just like every citizen, the prime minister too has the presumption of innocence, and I am sure that the justice system will give him a fair trial,” Gantz tweeted.

“I again emphasize that my colleagues and I have full faith in the justice system and law enforcement,” he added. “At this time, perhaps more than ever, as a state and a society, we must seek unity and reconciliation, for the sake of the country and all of its citizens.”

Addressing Gantz and Ashkenazi directly, Lapid said, “A week ago when you entered the government you said, ‘we won’t accept attacks on the rule of law.’ There is an attack on the rule of law. A violent, head-on attack. What are you planning to do about it? Are there any principles you are willing to fight for?”

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