Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz on Friday fired one of his top political advisers, who was recorded assailing his boss’s intelligence and competence, but also said that Israel Bachar was “caught in a planned ambush.”
“[My adviser Israel] Bachar was caught in a planned ambush that included the use of improper means and fraud — which will be addressed through legal means. The manipulative involvement of political parties will also be revealed soon,” the party said in a statement, adding that “at the same time, Gantz decided to immediately end Bachar’s work on the campaign.”
Bachar responded to his firing, saying that he accepted the decision and that Gantz is capable of coping with all challenges that Israel might face.
“As someone who has been with MK Benny Gantz for over a year, I appreciate that I had the opportunity to work with him. Gantz is a worthy leader and has greatly contributed to strengthening the security of the State of Israel as a fighter, commander and chief of staff. He is a leader who has also been able to cope with the challenges facing the State of Israel,” Bachar said.
“Without going into details, the situation published is part of a campaign of fraud that has achieved a new record of humiliation. The time will come for something to be done about it.”
According to Hebrew media reports, a rabbi recorded Bachar making the initial comments about Gantz during a private consultation about his personal life.
In a statement, the Likud party responded to the termination of Bachar’s employment by saying that he was “fired because he told the truth.”
In the recording aired by Channel 12 on Thursday, Israel Bachar is heard talking about Gantz with an unidentified acquaintance. The network said the recording was made several days ago.
Bachar is heard conveying the opinion of Blue and White MK Omer Yankelevich.
“She [Yankelevich] says he [Gantz] is stupid and a complete nobody and she says, ‘he can’t be prime minister,’” Bachar said.
When the acquaintance suggests Gantz would work to stop “some people abroad who might try to attack Iran,” Bachar says, “I know that.”
“What do you know?” the acquaintance asks.
“That he [Gantz] doesn’t have the courage to attack Iran,” Bachar says.
“Because that’s [the character of] the man?”
“Because that’s the man,” Bachar agrees, and says the former army chief’s refusal to permit a strike on Iran was “a danger to the people of Israel.”
Channel 12 reported that Bachar has been privately disparaging of Gantz for some time, even as he worked as a top adviser on Blue and White’s campaign.
Blue and White initially dismissed the recording as part of the “industry of lies” engineered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Netanyahu himself shared the Channel 12 report on social media with the comment that, “Even the people closest to Gantz know that he can’t be prime minister and that he is a danger to Israel’s security.”
On Wednesday, in a televised press statement, Gantz lashed out at Netanyahu for running a campaign of “lies and mud,” and contrasted Netanyahu’s current campaign with his invitation to Gantz in late 2018 to serve as his defense minister.