Blue and White leader: 'Barak and I can sit in the same party'

MK Gabi Ashkenazi says he and Ehud Barak have 'the same goal, if he'll help us change the government, that's great.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Gabi Ashkenazi
Gabi Ashkenazi
Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

MK Gabi Ashkenazi, Blue and White's number four and a former IDF Chief of Staff, discussed former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's decision to return to politics.

Speaking on Channel 12's "Meet the Israeli Press" program, Ashkenazi said: "Ehud Barak's return to politics is not surprising. He's been preparing himself for several years. Anyone who can come and contribute to the good of the State - that's great and we welcome him."

"He has said that we have a common goal, we have no rivalries - we're aiming for the same thing, so I don't see him as being at our expense.

"I understand that he wants to join up with Labor and Meretz - from our perspective, that's not necessarily bad. We don't rule out anyone. In the meantime, we haven't had an offer. He's talking right now about joining with Meretz. We're not left, we're center. We don't declare ourselves as leftists."

He added: "If Ehud creates unity on the Left, then the Israeli political map will have clear divisions: A leftist bloc, a center bloc - a large Blue and White - and a right-wing bloc - it could be that that's a good thing."

Regarding the Harpaz affair and whether former problems might affect the relationship between them, Ashkenazi said: "We meet randomly at events, we shake hands, we say a few words."

The Harpaz affair itself is something of the past, he insisted. "I said that a few times. I've left it in the past, I'm not stuck there, I look froward. I came to serve the country. If Ehud Barak will help us change the government, that's great and he's welcome. I have no problem sitting with Barak or speaking to him."

The Harpaz affair was an apparent attempt to smear then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak and influence the appointment of Ashkenazi's successor. Then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ordered that the criminal probe be dropped over a lack of evidence, but criticized those involved and particularly Ashkenazi, accusing him of collecting material against Barak.