'If Gantz first in rotation - danger to country'

PMs brother-in-law: '3rd election better than having Benny Gantz be Prime Minister first.'

Shimon Cohen ,

Netanyahu, Gantz and Rivlin
Netanyahu, Gantz and Rivlin
Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi, the brother-in-law of the Prime Minister, calls on the Prime Minister not to surrender the right to be first in a rotational government, if such arises. According to him, giving the years of premiership first to Benny Gantz would be national irresponsibility and a dangerous act.

"As part of the rotation option, which is the only option for forming a government, one thing should be clear: Benny Gantz must not be first to take on the post of prime minister," Dr. Ben-Artzi says in an interview with Arutz Sheva. "To me it's national irresponsibility to let a person who doesn't have one moment of political and economic experience to jump into the prime minister's office.

"The State of Israel isn't an experimentation laboratory or playground for children. It is perhaps the most difficult and complex country in the world," says Ben Artzi, describing the rich and successful experience of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who led Israel to its most successful decade in its history. Standing opposite him is a novice who's set up a bankrupt company in the civilian world, lost tens of millions of dollars, and also got involved with the police in a fraud case."

"Gantz can only be in the government after sitting in government two years and learning what the Knesset is, what government and policy are, meeting people around the world and only in two years there's a reasonable possibility. I urge Bibi not to give up on this issue. It would be better to have a third election than allow Gantz," he says. He emphasizes that the importance of giving seniority in a rotational government is not just about the legal reasons that everyone is talking about, but mainly about necessity for Israel's future and security.

We asked Dr. Ben Artzi if Benny Gantz's experience as Chief of Staff controlling a large army that contains within it a sort of treasury, education and religious ministries and more, apart from the various corps, wouldn't all those prepare him for the premiership?

"It's impossible to underestimate, but I was an army officer, if not a chief of staff or senior officer, and I knew the military system. From my acquaintance with the military, the military system is quite different from the civilian. In the military system, there's a hierarchy of commands. The civilian system requires a delicate game between various parties, not orders; there's negotiation. As prime minister, all systems must be run simultaneously and this is another world. One must know this world."

Ben Artzi mentions that "when Netanyahu took office, it was after he was a UN ambassador, a Knesset Member, a Deputy Foreign Minister, opposition chairman and still they told him he was a novice."

As stated, he does not worry about going to elections for a third time, since "election number three isn't a danger to the State, but giving such a novice to be prime minister is a gamble on the future of the State."

In his remarks, Dr. Ben-Artzi rejects arguments for the electoral advantage of Benny Gantz. "He has no advantage," he states, stating: "We're a Zionist, Jewish state and I count the Jewish public; that's what's relevant. One has to ask the consent of the Hebrew nation, as Rabbi Kook put it. Gantz received support of 44 and Bibi of 55. That Tibi added 13 more seats to Gantz is irrelevant to leadership of the Jewish State. I also call on the President to ask the question of who won the Jewish majority.

"It's important to say these things in the media and not just to Netanyahu himself. There must be a public dialog around this matter to say the State cannot be run in any way by a civil-political rookie. The call is for Likud MKs, religious MKs, all of whom are our emissaries," Ben-Artzi said. Mentioning just a few of the issues at the Prime Minister's doorstep in the near future: the Trump plan, the Gulf crisis, the Iran nuclear deal, and more.

Towards the end of his remarks, Dr. Ben Artzi also recalls the quality of Benny Gantz's role as IDF Chief of Staff: "The State Comptroller didn't go out of his way to praise his performance in Operation Protective Edge. In a long, detailed report that I read, the auditor spoke of a Chief of Staff who tried to escape the campaign, and only because of Bennett's pressure he went into the tunnel project, which was an existential threat and necessary, so he wasn't the best Chief of Staff, either."