09:19 GMT02 April 2020
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    Israelis will go to the polls on March 2 for an unprecedented third round of legislative elections in less than a year after votes in April and September 2019 failed to break a deadlock between the ruling Likud-led coalition and the opposition Blue and White Party.

    The Israeli Prime Minister has renewed his attack on Blue and White leader Benny Gantz over a scandal involving the former Israeli general’s advisors’ comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

    “I’ve asked [Gantz] to fire them, and he wouldn’t” Netanyahu said, speaking to Fox News host Mark Levin in a preview of an interview to be aired Sunday.

    “They’re the guys who give him the lines,” the prime minister added, referring to Gantz’s alleged dependence on teleprompters.

    “This guy is being fed by two people. One is an Israeli advisor called Ronen Tzur. He compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler, it’s incredible. The greatest friend we’ve ever had in the White House, he’s compared him to Adolf Hitler. The second advisor is an American advisor, Joel Benenson…He worked for Obama. He too did something which I think is illegitimate. He too compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler,” Netanyahu said.

    Commenting on Gantz’ expression of support for the ‘Deal of the Century’ Israeli-Palestinian peace deal unveiled by the White House last month, Netanyahu accused the Gantz campaign of “putting on an act” and pulling “one big con job” with their claims of support.

    “The Blue and White party is a leftist party in disguise,” Netanyahu insisted. “The majority of Israelis are basically right and center right, so in order to get center-right voters they pretend that they’re a center-right party and that they will take up the terrific Trump plan that has been put forward.”
    A combination picture shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel November 17, 2019, and leader of Blue and White party Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, Israel November 20, 2019
    © REUTERS / Nir Elias, Amir Cohen
    A combination picture shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel November 17, 2019, and leader of Blue and White party Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, Israel November 20, 2019

    Benenson’s comparison of Trump to Hitler was discovered by the media late last month. In a 2018 tweet, the former Obama and Clinton strategist compared Trump’s speeches to Hitler’s, and his alleged demonization of the press via the use of the term “Fake News” to the Nazi leader’s use of the term “lugenpresse” (lit. ‘lying press’).

    Earlier, Tsur, another senior Gantz advisor, mockingly called Trump “Donald Adolf Trump” and claimed that he was in cahoots with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Netanyahu has called on Gantz to sack and condemn the advisors, but the opposition leader has not done so.

    Israel was trapped in a historically unprecedented political deadlock throughout 2019, with parliamentary elections in April and September failing to allow either Netanyahu or Gantz to put together a new government, with Netanyahu leading a caretaker government until a third round of voting takes place in March.

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