Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday accused outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defence Minister Benny Gantz of spreading lies about his upcoming coalition government.
Netanyahu accused Lapid of claiming that the Defence Ministry will be taken apart, referring to the coalition agreement with far-right MK Bezalel Smotrich who is set to get control of the Civil Administration – the Defence Ministry’s arm in the occupied West Bank.
“The Civil Administration is worth less than a thousandth of a per cent of the Defence Ministry,” Netanyahu said, “and it will remain in the ministry.”
He also responded to Lapid’s accusation that the Education Ministry was given to extremist religious MK Avi Maoz, saying: “Maoz will deal only with the education ministries’ external programmes, which are approximately a thousandth of the education budget.”
Netanyahu reiterated that Maoz “will operate under the Prime Minister, and the Education Ministry will continue to determine the school’s curriculum.”
Gantz, for his part, accused Netanyahu of “cutting and pasting” government branches in a way that will cause “governmental chaos.”
The Jerusalem Post also reported Gantz accusing Netanyahu of harming the army’s ability to effectively fight terror and maintain law and order, just so that he could escape the corruption trials he is facing.
“I would like to say to my replacement, whoever it may be: If you take the position as it is presented to you, your task will be to become the contractor for the dismantling of the security apparatus and the IDF [Israeli army],” Gantz said at a meeting for his party.
“On your watch, the people’s army will disintegrate. You will find yourself carrying this mark of Cain, and will be forced to bear responsibility for the security chaos. You will be a second-class Defence Minister.”
In response, the Likud repeated Netanyahu’s remarks: “The Civil Administration is less than a thousandth of a per cent of the Defence Ministry, and it will remain in the Defence Ministry.”