Tension reportedly ran high during Sunday morning’s weekly cabinet meeting, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz accusing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of not appropriately crediting other ministers for the government’s work.
According to leaks from the meeting, after Bennett delivered his opening statement and the cameras were turned off, Gantz turned to the prime minister and demanded public recognition for the work done by cabinet ministers, particularly himself.
“A lot of people deserve credit for the work of this government. In front of the cameras you only talked about ‘me, and me and me,'” Gantz said to the prime minister, in a near-identical quote reported by several Hebrew media outlets.
“I’m in the room and you treat me like I’m the welfare minister. You should have mentioned me in front of the cameras,” he continued.
During Bennett’s on-camera remarks at the beginning of the cabinet meeting, he spoke about a large upcoming Israel Defense Forces exercise, and mentioned two fallen members of the security forces. Despite discussing issues under Gantz’s purview, he did not mention the defense minister.
Bennett, reportedly surprised by the attack, told Gantz to “look at my Facebook page. I’m always mentioning you.”
“Absolutely, I’ll look over your Facebook page, where I’ll get a mention,” Gantz reportedly responded.
Shortly after the exchange, Bennett added a post to his Facebook page celebrating Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman for pushing policies that led to Israel’s current eight percent economic growth rate.
“High-tech and the economy are soaring, and this is made possible by political stability for the first time in years, an ‘open Israel’ policy during the coronavirus pandemic, and a series of economic reforms promoted by Avigdor Liberman, together with cabinet ministers,” Bennett wrote on Sunday afternoon.
Gantz and Bennett have a reportedly tense relationship. Gantz, a former military chief of staff and recent alternate prime minister, has made decisions that could be interpreted as attempts to outflank Bennett, and the two have sparred on various issues, including maintaining relations with the Palestinian Authority, Gantz’s one-week coalition freeze, and planning trips to India.
Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, also in the cabinet meeting, reportedly took Gantz’s derisive comparison in stride. “It is not easy being welfare minister,” Cohen told Gantz.