Blue and White leader Benny Gantz speaking at Knesset session Monday

Gantz to Arab MKs: Please don't attack the IDF

Gantz told the Knesset that none of its 120 members are to be excluded and that despite political differences their positions are to be respected

Hassan Shaalan, Moran Azulay, Yuval Karni |
Published: 11.18.19 , 21:12
Blue and White leader and former IDF chief Benny Gantz on Monday called on the members of the Joint List to cease speaking ill of IDF soldiers.

 בני גנץ במליאת הכנסת בני גנץ במליאת הכנסת
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz speaking at Knesset session Monday
(Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

In a Knesset session Monday, Gantz also denounced comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud rally Sunday in which he called a possible narrow government reliant on the predominantly Arab Joint List a national disaster.
"I cannot accept the incitement against Arab members of Knesset," Gant told the Knesset. "These members are political rivals of the prime minister who represent a legitimate part of Israeli society,” he said.
"This parliament with its 120 members does not exclude anyone of the citizens of the country. They are all legitimate," Gantz added.
The former army chief then turned to the members of the Joint List and said that though they differ on many things primarily on national policy, he has respect for their criticism.
But, he added, "I suggest that you do not say what you have been saying about the IDF because it is untrue.”
Joint List co-chairman Ahmad Tibi interjected, calling on the Blue and White leader to condemn the killing of a Gazan family of eight - including five children - during an Israel Air Force raid on the home of a suspected Islamic Jihad commander Thursday last week.
אחמד טיבי במליאת הכנסתאחמד טיבי במליאת הכנסת
MK Ahmed Tibi in the Knesset
(Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Gantz replied that the IDF is investigating the unfortunate incident and had not been attempting to harm civilians.
Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh also hit back at Netanyahu's comments, saying in a video posted online that the prime minister was trying to start a civil war.
"No other prime minister has ever profited so much from causing division, racism, and hate as this one,” Odeh said.
He added that Netanyahu benefits when Israelis are divided and full of hate.
"To the Arab public, I say we will not bow our heads, we will stand united against these attacks,” Odeh said.
"I turn to the Jewish public: who better than you know what it is like to be a persecuted minority?
He called on all sides calling to stand strong and show Netanyahu that incitement would not work.
On Sunday, in what Likud called an emergency rally, Netanyahu attacked Blue and White for considering the formation of a narrow government the will rely on support from the Joint List calling such a government a "national disaster"

בנימין נתניהובנימין נתניהו
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Likud rally
(Photo: Tal Shahar)
Joint List lawmakers seek to destroy Israel," the prime minister said adding that if a Gantz-led minority government is formed, "they will celebrate in Tehran, in Ramallah, and in Gaza."

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