Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, one of the founders of Blue and White, announced Wednesday that he would not run in Blue and White in the upcoming elections.
Ashkenazi said he won’t run as part of Blue and White in the next election, as the party that only recently seemed poised to challenge Likud for leadership of the country continues to disintegrate.
On Tuesday night, Benny Gantz vowed to continue leading Blue and White into the next election in March.
In a statement, Ashkenazi takes credit for his party “changing the discourse” on annexation, which he asserts “opened up the window of opportunity for the peace deals [with Arab nations], and together we prevented any attempt for diplomatic and judicial adventurism.”
“I do not intend to run in the next election in Blue and White and I’m taking time off and considering how to proceed.”
He said that he will remain in his post as foreign minister for the time being, so long as Gantz wants him there.
Gantz responded to Ashkenazi’s decision: “I respect the decision of my colleague Foreign Minister Ashkenazi and thank him from the bottom of my heart for the partnership in the last two years for the State of Israel. Gabi and I have known each other for many years and I appreciate him very much.”
He said he respects Ashkenazi’s decision to leave the party and hailed him – in a jab at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – for bringing the Foreign Ministry back as a leading and influential ministry after years of neglect.
Gantz said that Ashkenazi was a great help in blocking the annexation plan and promoting normalization in the region.