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Coronavirus crisis escalates bickering between Netanyahu, Gantz

The coronavirus crisis and the dire economic straits only deepened the rift between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Alternate Prime Minister and Defence Minister Benny Gantz (L) attend a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. (Photo by ABIR SULTAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz, who is Israel's alternate prime minister and defense minister, hoped that the series of interviews he gave to the country's three main TV stations July 15, from isolation in his home in Rosh HaAyin, would ameliorate his public relations failure — if only partially.

The interviews were prerecorded and supposed to be broadcast on prime-time evening TV, with the goal of creating a buzz. Gantz came prepared with a page of messages to the public and two headlines: One addressed the possibility that Israel would renew a countrywide lockdown, in light of the daily escalation in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The second headline involved Gantz’s insistence on a two-year budget, as opposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who seeks a one-year budget. This last difference of opinion could, in an unlikely scenario, even lead to elections.

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