Benny Gantz
Benny GantzElad Malka

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz on Tuesday evening turned down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's proposal to hold a televised debate between the two of them.

"What happened Netanyahu? Are you scared that there's a date for your confrontation with the prosecution's witnesses, so you're creating a spin? On March 17, you're going to court and the State of Israel must move forward," Gantz said.

Earlier on Tuesday evening, Netanyahu challenged Gantz to a debate.

Speaking in an interview on Channel 20, Netanyahu said, "I'm ready to come here or somewhere else, Benny Gantz. Listen, I invite you to a televised debate. Come on. We will choose someone, or you bring someone and I someone, we'll do a televised debate, talk to the public. I won't have teleprompters, let's say the real stuff. What we did and what we do for the State of Israel. I invite you to a televised debate.”

"We'll do a series of debates like in the US - one debate on the political side, a debate on security issues, a debate on the economic side; three TV debates. Only without a headset," he added.

Following Netanyahu’s call, both Channel 12 and Channel 13invited Netanyahu and Gantz to a televised debate in their studios.

A Blue and White official said following Netanyahu’s statements that the invitation to a debate was a spin designed to turn public attention away from the Prime Minister's trial.

Netanyahu then said, “Benny, come to a debate! Stop being scared! Come to three debates, even if you only come to the first one that’ll be good. You say what you have to say and I'll say what I have to say. It looks like Gantz has a problem, he cannot stand up to pressure…if you can't stand the pressure of a television debate how will you lead the State of Israel? Do you know what pressures I have had to withstand? I stood in front of the whole world and the US president wanted a dangerous nuclear agreement and I said no and went against him.”

“Benny Gantz, stop being afraid, come to a debate, the citizens of Israel deserve to hear where things stand in economics, security, politics…come to a debate, stop being afraid. A Prime Minister who cannot face the most basic pressures cannot head a state. He should consult his close friend Ahmed Tibi.”