Former IDF head spooks Israel’s entire political spectrum

Benny Gantz's rise in the polls is shaking up the political system

former IDF Chief of staff, General Benny Gantz

Mazal Mualem writes in Al Monitor, “So far, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a point of not attacking former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, whether directly or indirectly. He has stuck with it while Gantz began to rise in the polls over the last few months, and even though he is taking a bite out of the bloc of less committed Likud supporters. “He’s good for us,” people close to Netanyahu told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity when asked about Gantz’ rise. They explained, “As long as he runs alone, he just ends up splitting the left. Even if he does win seats from the Likud, it will not change the bigger picture.”

“So far, Netanyahu himself has been behind this policy of ignoring Gantz. But all that finally came to an end this week when a Channel 10 poll showed Gantz winning about 15 seats. Another poll, this one by Hadashot, made matters worse, asking, “Who would you like to see as defense minister?” It gave Gantz a significant edge over Netanyahu (28% to just 7%) on the very day that the prime minister officially took over as defense minister, following Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman’s resignation.”…

“As a former IDF chief of staff, Gantz is no less a security expert than Netanyahu. On the other hand, he is not tainted by corruption and is regarded by the public as a suitable candidate. Even when Netanyahu was at his lowest point in the polls, there was no one who could challenge his high levels of public support or question his suitability as prime minister or “Mr. Security.” Gantz can…Neither Lapid nor Zionist Camp head Avi Gabbay will sit twiddling their thumbs once Gantz announces he plans to run. They will accuse him of tearing the center-left apart and claim that Netanyahu will win the election all because of him. In that sense, Regev’s vitriol is just the beginning.” (more…)

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