Report: Anger and Bitterness in Blue and White Over Leak Investigation

YERUSHALAYIM -
Blue and White party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in the Knesset. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a social media post Monday, Blue and White head Benny Gantz reiterated that his party was fully unified and would remain so – but a Kan News journalist reported that “knowledgeable people in the party say that Gantz and Yair Lapid have not spoken since the public revelation of the internal private investigation that Gantz initiated against leaks in the party. We are awaiting the public hugs between party leaders to dissuade the reports on dissent.”

News of the investigation has caused great consternation in the party, Yisrael Hayom reported. Yesh Atid faction members of the party told reporters they were in “shock” over the revelations that Gantz would spy on them. Gantz had apparently informed almost no one of the investigation into the leaks, and, party members told Yisrael Hayom, that evinces a major lack of trust between Gantz and party members. In addition, the members said, Gantz spent about half a million shekels of party funds on the investigation – money that could have gone to campaigning against Binyamin Netanyahu.

The existence of the investigation was revealed Sunday by Yediot Acharonot, as Gantz and insiders of his Chosen Yisrael faction sought to find the source of leaks that have caused if not electoral damage, then at least damage to the reputation of Gantz.

Among the leaks that were reported in the media were claims that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “would physically harm me or even kill me if he could get away with it,” that he did not rule out a coalition with Netanyahu, and that he would do “anything possible” to get chareidi parties to join a coalition led by him.

To get to the bottom of the leaks, Gantz hired an agency called the CGI Group, headed by former Yesh Atid MK and Shin Bet head Yaakov Peri. The agency was instructed to “suspect everyone,” the report said, and instituted numerous technological innovations to catch the leaker. It also developed several “false flag” detection plans which it shared with suspects, to ensure that they did not realize that they were suspects.

The plan, according to the report, has narrowed down the suspect to a Yesh Atid activist who was privy to meetings and events that eventually got leaked. When asked by Yediot Acharonot, Yesh Atid had no comment. Blue and White said in a statement that “the party is determined to change the government and is aware that there are political forces seeking to prevent this. At times we bring in outside consultants to help with our campaign.”

A senior Yesh Atid official was quoted by Yisrael Hayom that “our party ran in two election campaigns alone and never was anything leaked. From the moment we joined Gantz’s party the leaks have been nonstop. These leaks are coming from closed meetings where there aren’t even Yesh Atid representatives.”

Another Yesh Atid official said that party members were “shocked that they may be recording all our conversations. This is a dirty game, being played in our political home. Did they hack into our computers? Our phones? Our meetings? There is deep shock here. Gantz would be better off looking after his own people to prevent leaks.”

In his post, Gantz said that “in recent days we have been involved in security activities to ensure the security of information in Blue and White. In the context of that there has been and will be no schism in the party between its components. There are forces in the political establishment who would like to mar our efforts, which are actually quite standard.”