Gantz says Blue and White will vote to dissolve Knesset

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz begins his widely anticipated announcement, saying he can no longer support the government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that Blue and White will vote to dissolve the Knesset, setting the stage for early elections.

“Netanyahu has decided to take apart the government and lead back to elections,” he charges, banging the podium, and calling the Likud leader’s foot-dragging over the budget a “terror attack.”

He says he wants to avoid an “ugly election campaign” and accuses Netanyahu of refusing to keep up his end of the power-sharing deal, describing his disappointment that the premier did not “rise to the occasion,” as he thought he would.

“He didn’t lie to me, he lied to you. He didn’t deceive me, he deceived you,” he says.

He says Netanyahu should not be allowed to lead the government himself.

“If Netanyahu forces us into early elections, I will fight to create a broad government with true unity of the type that is needed now,” he says. “This will be a functioning government in which Netanyahu will have no part.”

He also defends his own party’s actions during its time in government with Likud. “Against Netanyahu’s maneuvers, we acted for the security of the country,” he claims.