Dozens of former senior Israeli defence officials have called on the leader of the Blue and White party, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, to pull out of next month's General Election, the Times of Israel has reported. The letter was published by major newspapers in the occupation state.
In their letter, 130 signatories stressed the need to do everything to reinforce efforts to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Gantz's party will weaken the votes if it fails to obtain sufficient support to enter the Knesset [parliament]," they pointed out.
"The time has come [for Gantz] to make a final leadership decision and withdraw from this dangerous campaign, which will end with obtaining results below the threshold and leave another party outside the Knesset. At the moment, the order of the day requires another brave decision… Do not enable wasting the votes of the camp for change… Israel will salute you." The former officials referred to Gantz's own campaign slogan: "Truly put Israel before everything".
In response, Gantz said that he is committed to the objective and will continue to move forward. He asserted that he intends to preserve Israel's democracy by remaining in the government to counter Netanyahu, "who would otherwise impose a de facto dictatorship." The Blue and White party leader rejected the officials' call for him to step down as a candidate.
The signatories of the letter included former Shin Bet chief Carmi Gillon; the former head of the Israel Defence Forces and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak; the former National Security Council chairman Uzi Arad; and former Mossad head Danny Yatom.