Gantz promised Ashkenazi: You'll be prime minister after me

Benny Gantz, Blue & White chair, promised Gabi Ashkenazi would replace him as PM - without consulting Yair Lapid. Blue & White: 'Utter lie.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Gabi Ashkenazi
Gabi Ashkenazi
Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

The battle over who would "inherit" Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz's position as prime minister began even before the party's early merger with Yesh Atid, Israel Hayom reported.

According to the report, in order to bring former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi into his party, Gantz promised that Ashkenazi could replace him as prime minister. According to Israel Hayom, this deal was made without consulting Blue and White's number two, MK Yair Lapid, who heads the party's Yesh Atid faction.

Involved sources told Israel Hayom that during the campaign prior to April's elections, when Gantz was chasing Ashkenazi, Gantz made a gentleman's promise that the day after he resigned or was forced to resign, Ashkenazi would be the one to replace him.

This promise was made while Gantz was holding negotiations with Lapid regarding the merger that eventually became the Blue and White party. As per the current agreement, if Gantz is tasked with forming a government, he will resign his position as prime minister after 2.5 years, allowing Lapid to take over for the remaining 1.5 years of the government's term. Ashkenazi, fourth on the list, has already been promised that he will inherit its top spot in the future.

Israel Hayom also reported that sources close to Gantz and Ashkenazi said the two held several meetings, during which Gantz attempted to persuade Ashkenazi to join him in politics. Some of the meetings were held in Gantz's hangout in Jaffa, and one meeting was held in the home of hi-tech entrepreneur Shlomo Dovrat. Though the meetings were private, both Gantz and Ashkenazi informed their people of what had passed between them.

In a statement, the Blue and White party said: "This is an utter lie."