Gantz: Chareidim Will Learn They Need to Be ‘Flexible’

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The rotation deal with Yair Lapid is extant and will not be dissolved, but that is no reason for chareidi parties to dismiss the idea of joining a government headed by him, Blue and White party head Benny Gantz said Thursday. In an interview with Yediot Acahronot, Gantz said that “Yair is a worthy partner, a leader – and he is not anti-chareidi.”

The comments come as yet another poll emerged Wednesday showing that without the predicted 15 or 16 Knesset seats that United Torah Judaism and Shas will have in the next Knesset, Gantz would be unable to establish a government, other than as a unity government with the Likud – a move likely to be turned down by his rank and file, as it would leave Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister. Lapid has a reputation as being extremely anti-chareidi, based on many comments he has made, as well as his actions as finance minister in the government.

All that is true, Gantz said, but that was still no reason to bar a partnership with himself and Lapid. “We aren’t hiding anything from anyone,” Gantz said. “Yair is active in all areas, and he does very good work. He has an agenda. We have an ongoing dialogue, and we are good friends. We consult with each other a lot. He is not anti-chareidi,” he said, adding that in time, the chareidim will understand this. “They realize that they have to become more flexible,” and part of that flexibility would be to accept the rotation agreement – and the eventual appointment of Lapid as prime minister.

When asked his opinion of the institution of public bus transportation on Shabbos in Ramat Gan, Gantz said that “we are in favor of Shabbos observance as long as it does not impact the lives of others. The proper thing to do is take it on a community-by-community basis, and allow public transportation where it does not bother anyone. We wouldn’t recommend such a thing in places like Elad or Rosh Ha’ayin, but that may be possible as well.

“We plan to take care of everyone’s needs and issues, and to ensure that all of us can live with each other,” Gantz added. “Those who are interested in this are invited to join us, and we will support them. We will be there for everyone.”