Blue and White party chairperson Benny Gantz on Thursday attempted to calm the latest in a series of tensions that have marred the surface calm of the party, when he slammed the party’s number-three, Moshe Yaalon, who on Wednesday was quoted as saying that the party would be better off if its number-two, Yair Lapid, pulled out of the rotation agreement he has with Gantz to make him prime minister halfway through the term of a government led by Blue and White.
The brouhaha stemmed from a report in Yediot Acharonot Wednesday, where Yaalon was quoted by confidantes as speaking out against the rotation agreement, which has Lapid taking over as prime minister two and a half years into the term of a government formed by Blue and White. “The rotation agreement is causing us damage,” Yaalon was quoted as saying, adding, “it would be best if Lapid gave up the idea of being prime minister.” Yaalon has publicly discussed the need to recruit chareidi parties to join a Blue and White-led government, considered a non-starter as long as Lapid is set to become prime minister.
In response, a spokesperson for Lapid’s Yesh Atid faction said, “Yaalon has apparently forgotten that it is Yesh Atid voters who voted him and his colleagues into the Knesset after they were far below the electoral threshold. Yaalon has time after time harmed the unity and activities of Blue and White. Despite all that we need to run together for the Knesset.”
Without mentioning Yaalon’s name, Gantz said Thursday that “only unity and a joint effort to achieve our objective, as we develop and debate our policy in-house, will enable us to progress and win. Each one of us has a responsibility to do this. The mission is complicated, and I will not allow anyone to harm it.”
In a social media post Thursday, Yaalon responded to the dustup by implying that he had been misquoted in the original Yediot piece. “There are forces that seek to disband Blue and White, and this is not in the interest of myself, Gantz, Lapid, or anyone else in the party. We decided we would work together to get elected on a united list in the coming elections, as we did in the previous ones. And let it be clear: Agreements are agreements, and we respect them,” he wrote, referring to the rotation deal.