Benny Gantz fired his senior political advisor, Yisrael Bachar, on Friday morning after the latter was heard in recordings broadcast on Channel 12 Thursday calling his boss a “zero” and “a danger to Israel.” In a statement, Blue and White said that “it’s a shame that the ‘lying business’ created by Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud are continuing as usual, even now. The real choice is between Gantz and Netanyahu, and if the latter gets one too many Knesset seats, he will remain in power.”
The breezy dismissal belied the panic that political insiders say has gripped Blue and White, as one its top advisors verbalized what polls show that many Israelis think. The recordings had Bachar telling aides that Blue and White “would make things more dangerous for Israel, as I have mentioned before. They will stand in the way of any effort to attack Iran.” About Gantz, Bachar said “I know he has no backbone to attack Iran. That’s just who he is.” Bachar then cited the opinion of Blue and White MK Omer Yankelevich, whom he said called Gantz “stupid, a real zero, not worthy of being prime minister.”
The revelation of the comments just four days before the election could accelerate the slide Gantz is experiencing in the polls this week. A poll Thursday night by Kan News shows for the fourth time this week Blue and White losing Knesset seats, both to the Likud and to Labor-Meretz-Gesher.
Channel 20 reported that Blue and White has ordered all MKs not to give interviews to the media until further notice. The order would essentially cut off MKs from speaking before the elections, as all candidates are banned from giving interviews within 48 hours of the opening of the polls.
Attempting to do some damage control, Blue and White said Friday that “from an initial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the comments, it appears that Bachar was entrapped in a situation that was planned to embarrass him, fooling him with the use of illicit methods. These will be dealt with via legal means. We will soon reveal the manipulative methods used by these political elements. With that, Gantz has decided to end the employment of Bachar immediately. Gantz also spoke with MK Yankelevich, and she has stated that she never made the comments attributed to her.”
Bachar himself issued a statement, saying that he had worked with Gantz for years, and that “he is a worthy leader who has contributed a great deal to Israeli security. He is a leader who has been able to deal with many challenges. This attempt to fool people into thinking otherwise is the height of gutter politics. With that, I accept the decision of Benny Gantz to end my involvement with his campaign. I will relate in the near future to the comments attributed to me,” he added.