Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz
Blue and White Chairman Benny GantzFlash 90

Senior Likud ministers who served in the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet during Operation Protective Edge sharply criticized Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz for decisions he made in his capacity as IDF Chief of Staff.

Gantz's tenure as IDF Chief of Staff included Operation Protective Edge, and according to the ministers, he warned the Cabinet against completely defeating the Hamas terror group.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Hayom, "During Operation Protective Edge, [Cabinet] members demanded that the army present a few options for acting in Gaza, including the option of completely reconquering the Strip and defeating Hamas. Gantz arrived at the meeting, scared the entire Cabinet, and warned against the option of conquering Gaza and defeating Hamas.

"He showed a slideshow that claimed there would be 500 dead soldiers and hundreds more injured. He explicitly said that he opposes such an operation and claimed that it was not worth the price.

"Now, suddenly, he says, 'We'll be victorious in Gaza, we'll conquer Gaza, and it'll be the last operation.'" Turning to Gantz he said: "You're promising things that you took the lead in opposing."

"When I heard him bragging I couldn't believe my ears. Apparently, he thinks everything is okay when it comes to elections."

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan added: "We didn't get the feeling that he wanted to win the war, we felt like he wanted to end it via a ceasefire, and as soon as possible."

"Benny Gantz is the last one who will lead to [us] being victorious in Gaza. As IDF Chief of Staff, he functioned in a very hesitant and weak fashion, during Protective Edge he kept trying for breaks and working to end it with a ceasefire. And when Cabinet members suggested attack initiatives, he was always the one who explained in a very deterring fashion why it's not worth trying those initiatives. He's the last one who has the right to talk about winning the war in Gaza."

Blue and White responded: "It's odd that Minister Steinitz should break the law and expose information from Cabinet discussions, while he tries to hide his revulsion and that of other Likud members at Netanyahu's attempts to form a government with [Education Minister Bezalel] Smotrich and [Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar] Ben-Gvir."

"We will not accept security advice from representatives of the party which erased Israel's deterrence, which allows hundreds of rockets to be fired at Israel, which pays protection money to Hamas. The Cabinet is the Holy of Holies when it comes to the State of Israel's security, and leaks harm the decision-making process most important to the protection of the lives of Israel's citizens. A responsible Cabinet headed by Gantz, [Blue and White leaders MKs Yair] Lapid, [Moshe] Ya'alon, and [Gabi] Ashkenazi will not allow the security lawlessness to continue, and will not allow secret IDF slideshows to be exposed for political purposes."