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.