Lapid downplays 2010 recording of Ashkenazi calling Gantz a ‘jackass’
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Lapid downplays 2010 recording of Ashkenazi calling Gantz a ‘jackass’

Blue and White co-leader backs party’s no. 4, calls him a career soldier who ‘never graduated etiquette school’

From left to right: Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya'alon of the Blue and White party arrive to give a joint a statement in Tel Aviv on February 21, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
From left to right: Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya'alon of the Blue and White party arrive to give a joint a statement in Tel Aviv on February 21, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday sought to downplay a recently leaked recording of the party’s no. 4, Gabi Ashkenazi, disparaging its candidate for prime minister, Benny Gantz, as a “jackass” nearly a decade ago.

Lapid told the Ynet news site that Ashkenazi’s remarks, from a police interrogation during the 2010 IDF forgery scandal known as the Harpaz Affair, were part of the former military chief’s manner.

“I think Gabi has told me seven things about myself that are worse than that in the last week,” he said. “That’s how Gabi talks. He’s a [military] guy.

“That’s just how the guy talks, he does believe in [Gantz] as the future prime minister. He never graduated etiquette school, he graduated from the mud and trenches of [military] training.”

On Tuesday, Hadashot news led off its nightly broadcast with exclusive recordings of Ashkenazi making the disparaging remarks about his then-deputy Gantz, who ended up succeeding him as IDF chief.

In a conversation recorded a day after Ashkenazi discovered his tenure was not being extended, he was told that Gantz was touring the northern border.

“He’s trying to build an image. That jackass seriously thinks he has a shot,” he told one of his associates.

The leaks to Hadashot also included recordings of Ashkenazi boasting of his ties with Yedioth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes, a suspect in one of the corruption cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In another recording, Ashkenazi can be heard calling then-defense minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “the true axis of evil in Israel.”

Ashkenazi retired from the military in 2010, after becoming embroiled in a succession scandal that highlighted a deep rift with Barak and his choice for the top post — Yoav Gallant.

Boaz Harpaz, a former close confidant of Ashkenazi, was indicted in 2016 and convicted in November 2018 of forging and then leaking to the press a document in an effort to undermine Gallant.

Ashkenazi was suspected of obstruction of justice and of delivering classified information to journalists in an alleged effort to influence the appointment of his successor, though the case against him was closed in 2016 due to lack of evidence.

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