Blue and White Party Chairman Benny Gantz was interviewed this evening by a series of media outlets for the first time since he began his campaign months ago.
At the beginning of the interview on Channel 13, Gantz clarified that he will not sit in a Netanyahu government. "I said that in the situation that was created I couldn't sit with Netanyahu. In my opinion, it's only worsened since then, and more importantly, the way strategic decisions were made to purchase submarines, to allow Germany to transport submarines to Egypt, these are very unhealthy processes for the State of Israel."
So in the simplest way, will you or won't you sit with Netanyahu in any case?
"We won't sit with Netanyahu, the only thing that can change the situation is if he emerges differently from the hearing, unfortunately, I don't see it happening."
Do you see yourself bringing 40 Knesset seats? At the moment you're only getting weaker in the polls.
"We have 40 seats and we are replacing the government. I'll head the political-security cabinet, alongside me Ya'alon, Yair, Gabi Ashkenazi, and not Smotrich and Miri Regev."
Gantz explained the recent sharpening in tone against Netanyahu in the wake of the submarine affair, in contrast to the more moderate line he has taken in the past, "The recent revelations, even in the financial matters that I presume will be examined, also in the manner in which their decisions were made and the timing unfortunately brought me to a place where my great belief that no-one in the political echelon makes any considerations except national considerations received a slight blow. I'm sorry I don't know what happened to the man. He moved off the road and I don't understand what happened to him."
In response to being described as hesitant and reluctant to fight, the Blue and White Chairman responded: "There's no terrorist I killed who called me nice and there are quite a few of them. There are no enemies whose houses fell on their heads who called me nice. I hurt our enemies more than all those talkers so we shouldn't be confused about this story."
Gantz stated in the interview he wouldn't invite the Arab parties to coalition consultations if he received the mandate to form a government: "I don't mean to call anyone who is against the State of Israel. The Arabs of Israel are equal citizens and we have to take care of their infrastructures, and not to follow their leaders who act against the State of Israel, they don't serve their interests - and therefore they are not relevant to this matter."
What about Feiglin's Zehut?
"Feiglin is a complex story. On the one hand, we see a very extreme man in his messianic views, something I'd say that you cannot follow in this context, he hides this messianism in liberal terms, and maybe on the legalization issues of cannabis I don't accept extremism and I don't buy camouflage. If he has very extreme views he'll have to rearrange them."
Is there a chance that we will see Orly Levy coming to you just before the elections with a promise to be Minister?
"I can't speak for her, I can only tell you what I think of her. Orly Levy is an excellent social, economic, and parliamentary leader. I have very good conversations with her, I'd be very happy if she joined me, and I'm sure one can lead the country exactly to the places she wants to go to, but as long as I'm Prime Minister because there's no other way."
And would you promise her a Minister's job so she would come?
Referring to the breach of his mobile phone carried out by the Iranian security establishment, Gantz stressed the material in the device would not prevent him from serving as prime minister. He declared he would not resign - and pointed an accusing finger at Netanyahu: "I leave you to ask the question and I'll leave it open. I'm not the one putting these things out. I received a report about the Iranians. I think there are other people involved."
But here's what your opponent says. He says: "If he can not guard his phone, how will he guard the country?"
"I'll guard my phone, I'll protect the country and I'll ensure that none of the people around us receive strategic capabilities that endanger Israel and its strategic freedom which is one million times more serious that anything existing in my cell phone."