FM Ashkenazi to Quit Politics

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister Of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi. (Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL)

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi is expected to announce that he’s quitting politics either Tuesday or Wednesday, according to media reports.

Ashkenazi, one of the co-founders of Blue and White with Benny Gantz, was said to be leaving because of dissatisfaction with Gantz’s leadership amid the plunging poll results.

Gantz now presides over a party in disintegration, and it is not clear that he will stay in politics either.

Earlier on Tuesday, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn said he’s leaving the party to join up with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s new party, as yet unnamed. And Yisrael Hayom reported that at least two more Blue and White MKs are on their way out and into Huldai’s arms—MKs Einav Kabla and Ram Shefa.

Neither Gantz nor Ashkenazi have commented publicly on his departure. Asked if the report was true, Ashkenazi spokesman said “wait and see.”

Gantz acknowledged Nissenkorn’s decision, saying: “Nissenkorn has chosen a new political home and is therefore expected to resign the justice portfolio. This one of Blue and White’s most important assets to safeguard democracy and the rule of law, and we will continue acting the same way we have thus far.”

In a sense, Nissenkorn had already left Gantz even before this, as he did not notify him of the resignation personally. Gantz learned of it in a news brief he received on his phone, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“Nissenkorn is ungrateful,” a senior source in Blue and White told the Post. “He took advantage of our party, ensured his own seat and ran away.”

In Huldai’s party, Nissenkorn will be second on the electoral list.

Nissenkorn reportedly turned down offers from Yesh Atid and Labor before plumping for Huldai, who is set to announce the new party officially on Tuesday evening.

Later on Tuesday evening, Nissenkorn reportedly claimed that Gantz was working on a merger with the right-wing Yamina party, which further alienated the leftist minister, according to Ynet.

Yamina denied the report.

“Nissenkorn is trying to explain his flip-flopping and we have nothing to do with it,” the party said.