Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz addressed the leaked Yisrael Bachar tapes on an interview with Channel 13.
He said that "Bachar did a very serious thing. This story was manufactured. The recording sounds unauthentic to me. They took advantage of his weakness and backed him into a corner. That's what a fabrication looks like."
Gantz added that "Blue and White MK Omer Yankelevich denied saying [that I'm incompetent and must be prevented from coming to office] and I am moving forward."
"The Prime Minister should act as the leader of a state and not a mafia head."
Regarding cooperation with the Joint Arab List, Gantz said that, "The members of the Joint Arab List do not sufficiently condemn terrorism. We will not [depend on them to form a coalition] or partake in a government with them."
Probed about the reason a unity government failed to emerge following the April 2019 elections, Gantz responded: "We did not agree that Netanyahu should violate the rotation agreement. Any agreement with him is not worth the paper it's printed on."
Following the release of the Bachar tapes on Friday, Gantz fired his campaign adviser. A statement from the Blue and White Party read, "From the initial clarification, [it appears that] Bachar set out on a planned ambush that included personal exploitation, use of improper means and fraud that will be dealt with via the judicial system. The political sources' manipulative involvement will also be revealed soon."
In the meantime, Gantz has decided to immediately end Bachar's involvement in his campaign.
Amit Segal's recordings documented Bachar during a conversation with an acquaintance detailing Gantz's deficiencies and strongly criticizing him.
Bachar is heard saying that "She (MK Omer Yankelevich) says he is stupid, [completely incompetent] and 'must not become prime minister.'"
His friend replies: "They pose a great threat, and as I've already told you, very dangerous. They will make the wrong decision. When people in the world try to attack Iran, they will prevent them from doing so."
Bachar is heard saying, "I know."
His friend replies: "Then what can happen, my love?" to which Bachar answers: "The Jewish people are in danger."
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu shared the recordings on his Twitter page, posting: "Even Gantz's closest associates know that he must not be [allowed to become] prime minister and will endanger Israel's security."
While Blue and White party chairman Gantz confirmed that the conversation took place with his immediate termination of Gantz's contract and apparent probing of Yankelevich's involvement, the party blamed Netanyahu for the leak: "It's unfortunate that Netanyahu's network of deceit continues to operate tonight. If [the Likud] gets one more seat, he will remain [in power]. The choice is between Blue and White and Erdogan."