Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz Ministry of Defense

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the Blue and White party on Monday announced they would boycott and not participate in votes on bills in the Knesset plenum, in protest of the failure to promote their law on the expansion of military pensions.

Blue and White did not specifically mention the pensions bill, but claimed that the coalition has been violating a long line of commitments towards them for many months.

At the start of the meeting of the Blue and White faction, Gantz said that recently he has been holding a quiet dialogue with the Prime Minister and the Alternate Prime Minister on a long line of security issues and other issues.

Gantz added, "I regret the fact that political and populist elements, some of them post-Zionist, have decided to consciously undermine the security of the country, the soldiers, permanent servicemen and reservists who guard the country, and are more important to the fight against Iran than any sophisticated plane or system. Anyone who does not vote in favor of the government's decisions endangers its continued existence."

"Israel's security, economic security and the social security of all parts of society regardless of political affiliation are what make this government legitimate, so Blue and White will not compromise on the laws and policies required to achieve this in the Knesset and government."

Gantz met about a week ago met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Finance Minister Yair Lapid and told them he could not continue in a situation where security laws and decisions passed by the government do not come up in the Knesset because there is no majority to pass them there.

A senior coalition official said following the Blue and White boycott, "We were surprised by Gantz's move. This childish behavior on the part of Gantz, who thinks everyone is dumb. This is not about national security but about his friends' pensions. Again he acts sour and tries to undermine the stability of the government like a little child. Maybe he's fantasizing about a government with Bibi again?"

The senior official's remarks were made as Bennett and Gantz were meeting at the Prime Minister's office in the Knesset. Gantz proceeded to leave the meeting and his associates said "there is no way that Gantz will sit in a room with Bennett while reporters are being briefed over his head. He got up and left."

As a result of Gantz’s boycott, the plenum was closed in the absence of a majority for the coalition. Bennett told reporters after the meeting with Gantz: "The government is doing excellent things for the citizens of Israel, there is a problem and we will solve it."

The Blue and White party said, "The cowardly and mysterious briefings of self-appointed senior officials against IDF fighters and servicemen are crossing a red line. Gantz's concern for IDF fighters and servicemen comes out of a deep concern for the security of the state and the existence of the IDF as a strong and capable army. If there are elements who are willing to harm IDF fighters and servicemen for political and post-Zionist reasons, Gantz will not allow it."