Al-Monitor

Former generals join forces ahead of Israeli elections

In a recent speech, former IDF chief Benny Gantz announced himself as a viable alternative and worthy challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Benny Gantz, former Israeli armed forces chief and head of Israel Resilience, speaks at his party's campaign launch, Tel Aviv, Jan. 29, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s worst nightmares came true on Jan. 29, as Benny Gantz, former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff, became his number one election rival. Gantz defied preliminary expectations and exuded a persuasive presence, revealing his stripes as a true leader during a speech at Tel Aviv’s Convention Center. Television stations broadcast Gantz for 21 consecutive minutes in prime time, which for Netanyahu probably seemed like eons.

The speech was followed moreover by substantive televised discussions, highlighting the importance of the event. It all ended with an additional for the April 9 elections. Thus, Netanyahu finds himself facing Moshe Ya’alon, his former defense minister and leader of the new party Telem, as well as his former chief of staff in Gantz on one ticket.

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