Blue and White MK Asaf Zamir has paid the price for voting against the coalition bill to postpone the state budget deadline, as party chairman Benny Gantz fired him on Sunday.
Zamir was one of four MKs, three from Blue and White and one from Likud, who broke coalition discipline and helped bring down the government by a two-vote margin last week.
“I do not regret the way I voted,” Zamir wrote in an online post.
“I thanked him for the trust he [Gantz] has placed in me so far and I begged him to do everything necessary so that the center-left arrives united to the elections in a structure that will allow him to run for power,” he said.
Gantz did not seem particularly regretful either. His office said that Zamir’s decision to resign was “mutual” and that the defense minister “wished him well going forward.”
Blue and White MKs Ram Shefa and Miki Chaimovich, who like Zamir, voted against the deadline extension, will likely also be leaving the party.
Zamir told Kan Radio earlier Sunday that Blue and White shouldn’t be led by Gantz in the election, and he won’t run with it if it does. He did not endorse anyone, but just said that the Center-Left bloc should be led by whoever can get the most seats.
There has been speculation in the media about whether Gantz will stay in politics at all after the bitter disappointments of the past year. A press conference at which he was expected to announce his intentions on Motzoei Shabbos was canceled and his plans remain uncertain.
Meanwhile, another, more senior member of Blue and White may be crossing his own name off the list.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi reportedly refused on Sunday afternoon to promise that he will remain in Blue and White in the coming campaign under Gantz’s leadership.
According to Channel 12 news, Ashkenazi is seeking to replace him as chairman.
Blue and White, which currently has 15 seats, is performing poorly in the polls, which give it only around five seats in the next election, reflecting voter dissatisfaction over decision to enter Binyamin Netanyahu’s government, after pledging not to do so during its election campaign, and then wrangling with Netanyahu’s Likud over multiple issues while the economy plunged in the pandemic.
Updated Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 2:30 pm .