Gabi Ashkenazi: The door is closed to Netanyahu - period

Former Chief of Staff and no. 4 on the Blue and White list makes clear: We will not sit with Netanyahu.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Gabi Ashkenazi
Gabi Ashkenazi
Kobi Richter/TPS

Gabi Ashkenazi, a member of the Blue and White party, attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during an interview on Channel 12 News on Saturday night.

The former IDF Chief of Staff and number 4 on the Blue and White list, said that the new revelations in the submarine affair required a comprehensive investigation.

Ashkenazi added that even though Netanyahu had said he would sue the leaders of Blue and White for libel "we are prepared to deal with him. We are prepared for him to sue us. Lapid also said yesterday that he is removing the immunity and he did not even mention me at all. If he wants to sue – let him sue."

"We do not expect and are not prepared for a Prime Minister to make deals in shares, and this entire matter requires investigation," Ashkenazi continued. "We explicitly say that this entire thing is serious. I want to state that the issue of giving advanced attack submarines to Egypt is a violation of the IDF's naval advantage - in both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea." Ashkenazi emphasized “that there are many affairs involving Netanyahu, but the submarines is the Holy of Holies and we will not go ignore it.”

Ashkenazi, who testified to the police in the submarine affair, noted, "I was the Chief of Staff in 2010, and I received instructions to purchase a sixth submarine, even though it was agreed a year earlier, with Netanyahu, that there is no need for it. But the priorities went elsewhere."

He explained, "The demand was strange, I demanded a cabinet discussion on the subject even then. If I, as Chief of Staff, receive instructions to purchase a submarine, I assume that the interests are official for and security purposes only."

"The Prime Minister is suspected on many issues, but with regard to the submarines - the details that are being revealed require an investigation," Ashkenazi continued. “His story changes are later exposed as lies. At first Netanyahu was not involved at all, then it turned out that he was involved as a private citizen, and then it turned out that he was the head of the opposition when he bought the shares and that's before we get into the money, how much he paid and so on. If the Prime Minister wants to sue us for libel and have to deal with it in court, let him come and answer questions."

The former Chief of Staff also discussed the firestorm over the hacking of Benny Gantz’s phone and said, "There is no security interest and it is impossible to blackmail him. If that was possible, he would not be running for the position of Prime Minister. Benny Gantz is not the only one that the Iranians are trying to break into his phone. Gantz, unlike the prime minister, has no phone that is immune - he bought it with his own money."

Ashkenazi continued, "Hundreds of Mossad people and police officers change to regular telephones after they conclude their service and they are targets for an Iranian attack." The former Chief of Staff explained that "it is the cyber defense system that needs to protect them and the ordinary citizens and the person responsible for that is Netanyahu."

"Like everyone else, Benny Gantz has every right to his privacy," Ashkenazi said in connection with the break-in to his phone. “It's a political spin - look when it was published, the incident occurred last year. And I want to say that I think the public does not care and does not buy it."

Ashkenazi continued his direct attack on the Prime Minister and said, "When was the last time the prime minister was interviewed? We will not sit with Netanyahu, the door to Netanyahu is closed and locked. Gantz learned about the new developments in the submarine affair and said in his own voice that he would not sit with him."

Towards the end of the interview, Ashkenazi referred to Netanyahu's statement which was disseminated this week following a campaign video by the Labor Party in which Netanyahu was quoted allegedly expressing himself in a racist manner toward IDF commanders from Mizrahi backgrounds.

"When I hear things about the Golani Brigade and the soldiers, and in general about IDF soldiers, I have to keep myself calm and weigh my words carefully," he said angrily.

"I am embarrassed for Netanyahu and for all of us. I do not know how he, as Defense Minister, can go to the Golani Brigade tomorrow and approve a plan to enter Gaza," he continued. "Even though he said it a long time ago, this entire matter of white or black command is very sad and this is a disgrace."

Ashkenazi said that, in his opinion, "The Likudniks do not like it either - we have never judged a person by the color of his skin, it is simply a shame and a disgrace. In political campaigns everything can be done but there are red lines, and this time it seems that Netanyahu crossed them."