Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
"I still think it is wrong to have a prime minister with three indictments," Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz told The Jerusalem Post.
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz had already been through his share of battles in a military uniform before entering politics. After enduring three intense elections against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he made a controversial decision to join him in a unity government and spare Israelis from going to the polls for a fourth time.
Gantz prevented an election again last month in another battle with Netanyahu that appeared to be over the state budget but was actually an attempt by a prime minister under three criminal indictments to influence key law enforcement appointments.
In an interview following that rare political victory over Netanyahu, Gantz talks about whether he ever truly trusted Netanyahu, whether he still believes he will become prime minister in the rotation agreement he signed with the prime minister and why he is confident despite the many security threats Israel is facing.
How did you stand up to Netanyahu in the political battle, and how will you continue to fight or cooperate with him?
We entered the government to cooperate at a time of a health emergency with extraordinary economic and social ramifications and security challenges from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. We did it for the State of Israel, while conceding on our principles as little as possible. I still think it is wrong to have a prime minister with three indictments. We joined to have influence from within the system. Others merely talk about all the problems; I do what’s possible to resolve them. For the first time in a decade, our camp has a foothold in the government. Before that, there was one-man rule with no way to have influence. Just like we never stop trying to achieve peace and security, we will never stop working in the government for maintaining rule of law, keeping Israel united and easing rifts in Israeli society.
Did you ever trust Netanyahu?
In lieu of trust there is a coalition agreement, and we will work in accordance with the agreement. So far, Netanyahu has not kept one of the most fundamental parts of the agreement, his commitment to a two-year budget. He has an agenda of not fulfilling his commitment to a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office. I entered the government with a top priority of helping Israel and a secondary priority of the rotation, so if I achieve my top priority and not my second one, I won’t regret it.
How can you work with Netanyahu without trusting him?
We worked together on security and diplomatic issues when I was IDF chief of staff and he was prime minister, and we continue to work well together on these issues today. When it comes to politics, he will continue to do what is right for him and we will continue to deal with the situation and do what is right for the people.
Have you ever regretted joining the coalition?
I knew it would be a minefield, but I had goals to achieve. If we hadn’t entered, would there be an agreement with the United Arab Emirates? Would annexation have been prevented? Would our democracy be unharmed? It’s not easy to be in the government, but it’s important to be there. Israel is bigger than Bibi and me. I have acted responsibly. Those who put themselves before the country are not acting responsibly. Netanyahu would help Israel more if he worked less for himself.
Are you happy with the UAE deal despite Netanyahu keeping you in the dark about it?
We are very glad about the diplomatic developments and appreciative of what Netanyahu, Trump and Kushner have done. The agreement is good for the UAE and Israel and beyond. It is not just bilateral. It can cause a positive domino effect. Anything to advance peace in the Middle East, or at least normalization, must be welcomed. It is improper that I was not told of the deal in advance, but what matters is that the deal was made at all. There is a difference between a basic surprise out of nowhere, being astounded, which is not what this was, and a situational surprise that it happened now.”
Regarding the F-35 and the UAE, you’ve said that it wouldn’t be good if other countries got their hands on the advanced jet, but would it really be so disastrous if the UAE procured the plane? Is it not better to have a regional ally fly such a jet (that both the US and Israel have) should there be a need for a coalition operational activity against Iran?
“Qualitative military edge (QME) is a critical aspect of Israel’s security. There are advantages and disadvantages in selling advanced weaponry to countries in the region. Yes, it could be that there might be something like a possible coalition that might be positive. Others would say that it’s better that they have American weapons systems rather than Russian or Chinese – but there are always two ways it can go. I have said, and I will repeat, we will know, as a security establishment how to accommodate this deal while maintaining Israel’s security interests, especially in regard to our QME. But it’s not a one-sided street. We also make deals with the United States and we can also get more platforms and systems. This is not a one-sided deal.”
With Israel not really in charge of the decision, rather Washington, if the UAE does get the F-35 what should Israel demand in return to keep our QME?
“We know what we want to ask for and what we might be able to get in order to make sure that we can act professionally and strategically with the developments in the Middle East. I will ensure Israeli security and I know what I’m talking about.”
Defense Minister director-general Amir Eshel, a man with whom you have worked many years, is heading to Abu Dhabi in the coming weeks. What do you expect to come from the meetings he will be holding?
“We will know how to develop security ties with UAE and adding more here would only cause harm. Better not to expand on that.”
You’ve spoken to your UAE counterpart, now when do you plan to meet with him?
“I’ve spoken with the defense minister of the UAE. It was an introductory meeting and there will be more. There’s no date set to meet and doesn’t matter where the meeting will happen, here or there.
Israel and the UAE have a decades-old security relationship, with countless secret deals signed over the years. Will the security cooperation/relationship with the UAE only strengthen with this deal? Or do you think some companies will start looking at other countries where they can continue their work behind closed doors and under the radar?
“I don’t see why it should be a problem. Deals will continue, and perhaps the opposite. What before was B2B or B2G can now be G2G. I have no doubt that it won’t be a smooth walk in the park, we have a good number of bumps ahead of us.”
Now, let’s turn to our northern borders where the IDF is still on high alert, more than a month after the alleged Israeli airstrike. Hezbollah has tried at least three times to hit IDF soldiers but has not yet succeeded. Do you think they will tire of trying or is this the new normal until an attack succeeds?
“It will happen. We haven’t stopped our activity in the North and we will continue to stop the transfer of advanced weapons that are going to Hezbollah via Syria. We haven’t stopped since July 20 and our strategic objective, not only along the Syrian border, this is something that will continue. There have been incidents on our northern border and we foiled them all and responded. We won’t let our forces be attacked. Hezbollah understands that and in my opinion, the Lebanese government and civilians are hostages to Hezbollah’s activity. I hope there won’t be activities where we will have to respond, but we won’t hesitate to act.”
How has Israel’s war-between-war (Mabam) campaign affected Hezbollah and Iran? Your predecessor Naftali Bennett said as he was leaving office that Iran was starting to withdraw bases and troops from Syria, is that still accurate?
“I prefer to express myself more modestly. We have achievements, but we are continuing to see Iran’s activity in Syria and around it. I don’t see Iran fleeing Syria. We will continue to intercept their shipments and we have freedom of operation to act in order to implement our agenda over Syria and the region. We will continue our activity across the region, but we aren’t imperialists wanting to conquer. Our only interest is security. That’s it.”
Now to Gaza. We are seeing non stop fires being caused by incendiary balloons, and while you have said that the IDF is responding to every balloon/rocket, is that really a strategy that the IDF can maintain in the long run?
“We’ve changed our strategy of not accepting any security violations. A balloon is as unacceptable as rockets, but we decide the strength of the response based on our interest. We have levers to push against Gaza and we will not stop the food and supplies, but there are other non-kinetic levers that the leaders in Gaza understand. I am open to many options in Gaza, such as humanitarian steps and economic development that will continue. But we don’t accept any violations and at the end of the day, I have not left any balloons or rockets unanswered over the past two weeks. We have offensive systems that are intended to minimize damage. I hope Yehye Sinwar will realize that he’s hurting Gaza. If we need to call up the army and be stronger we will.”
With a growing coronavirus outbreak in Gaza, is it not in Israel’s best interest to help Gaza get a handle on that?
“We don’t want a corona outbreak in Gaza and we are ready to help with medical equipment. I hope that they will come to their senses and remove the security aspect so that we can help, but it’s in their hands.”
What is your message to Diaspora Jewry for the new year?
It is very important that the ministry is in the hands of Blue and White. Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch is doing wonderful work. She speaks Russian and English, she is haredi yet open. She has a strategic plan for ties with Diaspora Jews. I have been meeting with Jewish communities around the world, unfortunately lately only over Zoom. The Diaspora is facing tough times with the coronavirus and antisemitism. Both sides want to deepen ties and that is the key for success.
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AKANCopied from the book, Reality as Myth by Onyeji Nnaji. The influence of the
Akan on their content nations lies on their population and commonwealth of
their brother nations. The Akan are one of the largest ethnic groups in West
Africa. Their population is scattered across West Africa and beyond. Among this
huge population of the Akan, the Ghanaians are more popular, perhaps because of
the political influence of the Ashanti Empire in the area. Not much is heard or
known about other Akan settlements like the Akwamu, the Akyem , the Akuapem,
the Denkyira, the Abron, the Aowin, the Ahanta, the Anyi, the Baoule, the
Chokosi, the Fante, the Kwahu, the Sefwi, the Ahafo, the Assin, the Evalue, the
Wassa the Adjukru, the Akye, the Alladian, the Attie,the M'Bato, the Abidji,
the Avikam,the Avatime the Ebrie, the Ehotile, the Nzema, the Abbe, the Aboure,
the Coromantins, the Ndyuka people and other peoples of Côte d'Ivoire. Every Akan nation adopts the image…
from the Book; "Reality as Myth"
by Onyeji Nnaji
of the discovering of the Radar Rivers and their channels is that it disproves
the western hegemonic claim of the Euphrates valley being the position of the
birth of the great river, all the points that opposed their claims
notwithstanding. Even God himself was very perfect in His creation by placing
them in their positions, hierarchically, according to their birth. The first
river that flowed located the Havilah land where there are good quality gold,
bdellium and fine onyx stones. Pison was the oldest of the rivers and it flowed
through the land of the southern Africa. The second river flowed northward to
Ethiopia. It was when Africa had been overtaken by virtue of her proximity to
the Great Water that other parts of the world began to encounter the remaining
river; remarkable with Hiddekel.
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The major problem towards deciphering the original plac…
Copied from the book, Reality as Myths by Onyeji NnajiThe world of the Bantu travellers shows the walls of the
migration that recorded the highest population among the African settlement.
Originating from the largest population among the four races that settled in
the east before time, all Bantu travellers were pygmies; for that was the
nature of the Umudiala, the
generation that gave birth to them. Bantu migration was rated the third
earliest migration of the Negro race from the east. In this regard, all their
movement had involved great population of people compared to the number of
people involved in the two earlier populations that gave birth to Ethiopia,
Nubia and Egypt: the Walker Traveller, and the
Race of Anu. Bantu population as we have identified in the third chapter
above outweighs the rest of the population of the ancient fathers that founded
many of the nations of antiquity mentioned earlier. Discussing them in beat
will pose a little challenge since their migration condi…
The name Nkalaha is a
coinage which stands for a people occupying a geographical land and regional
setting in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is a coinage which attempts to
explain the direction of movement and adventure of the men who founded the
community in the 15th century AD. According to oral sources and some
documentation about this community, some of these men were believed to have
traveled from Ida, old Benue state of Nigeria to inhabit the land. These men
had traveled on different days to locate the place. Onojah who originally
founded the land was said to have been in a deep search for a place of safety
as he was besieged by a fate that appeared to make him somewhat incompatible
with his own people. Nkalaha
is one of the communities that make up Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi
State. Nkalaha occupied the northern part of Ishielu Local Government Area. She
is located through the zip 135.031.000. The community sits on 923.768km2. She shares boundaries with neighbourin…
My neighbour had vowed never to let any girl
survive as a salesgirl in my shop. This thing has happened for over three
times. Each time we brought a new salesgirl, the girl would stay for two or
three months; and suddenly she would end her contract with us. In all these, my
husband did not know. So, being that the girls usually stole money and other
items, the reason for their departure became genuine, thus: they ran away to
avoid being punished for their actions. But behind this, the underling truth is
that the girls had been embarrassed by my neighbour who would warn them to leave
her loosed husband. Recently, the woman threatened to f…
The Mystery of
Number, “Five” in the Igbo Cosmology.From: Aspects
of the Ancient African Metaphysics;Chapter: Seven;Topic: Igbo
Geometries and the Metaphysics of Numbers.Author: Onyeji
Nnaji. In the Igbo
cosmology, the word Isee is a definite symbolic word as revealed through
the Igbo language and culture. A human being has five fingers, five toes. The
hands and feet are fundamentals to the survival in life as they are necessary
in ensuring that man moves to places where he gets food and grapples on the
food to sustain his life. To this view, the rhetoric that binds vocatives in
the form of incantation (anchoring on the heart-lock: four) and the
concomitant reprisal in the manner of affirmation that holds the human life
bind to his original spiritual person, therefore defining existence and
essences are unified by the corresponding echo: Isee!!!!! Therefore
it stands that anytime a prayer is said in the Igbo land, the attendants who would
want the fulfillment of the prayer unanimously …
INTRODUCTION One thing that made Udi remarkable is the indubitable
legacy adopted in commemoration of the legendry fighter, Uto at Nsude. It was one
of the greatest contributions of the descendants of Agbaja to the survival of
Nsukka civilization of memory. Uto held from Oshie. Uto dies of small pox after
a mercenary battle he was hired to fight in the ancient Benin. His body was buried
in the evil forest as the tradition demanded. Although he lived no longer, the
stepped pyramids above were adopted to commemorate the lasting peace he brought
to the entire Oshie and Udi nation of people. Another remarkable thing about Udi is the
fertility of the land. This has contributed widely in sustaining the
inhabitants and provided a name for the inhabitants in the manner of Abakaliki,
Umudike, Ogbaru, Igboariam, Ohaji, Uzouwani, etc., especially in Amofia-Agu,
Affa. Udi is a land of great rivers and springs: Adaada, Ajali, Oji, Aria,
Nvenu, Ngene Evu, Iyi Ububo, etc. as was the situation every…
There are four generations…, and the fourth generation, which is the most exalted, is kingless and perfect. These people will enter the holy place of their Father and they will reside in rest … They are kings. They are the immortal within the mortal (The Nag Hammadi, 219)
Also read Nsukka Civilization: The Peopling of Ancient Nsukka One of the African homes that colonialism has completely deformed beyond certain level of recognition is Nsukka. Colonialism apart, the most affecting factor to the survival of the meaning which the rich cultural enclave, Nsukka, carries will best be blamed on postcolonial political structure. The biggest harm all these have against Nsukka as a people is that they rubbed her of the meaning of her name; their place of origin; how their fathers managed to come into their present abodes and who their ancestors were. A profound understanding of the excerpt above will open the door towards deciphering the meaning and origin of the people called Nsukka. Geographica…
by Onyeji Nnaji Eha-Amufu
road newly constructed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state in 2019 Apart from the strategic location of the
Federal College of Education, one central reason remarkable about Eha-Amufu is
her central position and her boundary situation. Eha-Amufu stands at the centre
of many communities; as a result she has served as the gateway to different
communities. She is bounded to Nkalaha, Agala, Ikem, Umuero and other
communities, including Obeagu (pronounced Ubegu). Aside from that, Eha-Amufu embodies
the route that traces the way to the northern part of Nigeria for travellers
travelling from Ebonyi axis. Eha-Amufu also forms the remarkable boundary
community between Enugu State and Ebonyi State. This situation makes Eha-Amufu
very strategic in the discussion of the road and rivers across Ebonyi and
In the era when transportation on rail was
the order of the day, the most popular then ‘Express Train and later Diesel
Train’ and also the ‘local goods train’…