Skip to main content

Israel’s Gantz steers away from Arab voters, seeks soft-right

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz does not realize that if he wants to be prime minister, he will need a high voting rate among the country’s Arab citizens.
Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, and Yair Lapid attend a parliamentary vote for its dissolution and approval of a date for a third national election in less than a year, at the Knesset, or Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem December 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad - RC2ATD9IHGT9
Read in 

Breaking right. That’s the direction the Blue and White party has chosen for itself in the 2020 election. The purpose of this move is absolutely clear. It wants to attract right-wing voters, with an emphasis on the soft right. This means voters who don’t want a prime minister under indictment, who will end up spending his mornings in court and his evenings meeting with his Cabinet and security Cabinet. The problem is that Blue and White party Chairman Benny Gantz made a sharp and dangerous turn toward voters aligned with HaBayit HaYehudi and the National Union. It is like he is running against Yamina senior Bezalel Smotrich and not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Gantz announced Jan. 8 that releasing the “deal of the century” right before the March 2 election would be, “callous and genuine intervention in the process.” But then Jan. 21 came around, and he sounded different. During a tour of the Jordan Valley, Gantz said that the Blue and White party would take steps to annex the Jordan Valley after the election. Referring to the “deal of the century,” he said, “I hope the president will move up [the rollout] and I expect the plan will be released very soon.” In doing all this, Gantz shifted the issue of imposing Israeli law and annexing the Jordan Valley to the top of the agenda, and he did it on the same day that the Arrangements Committee released the dates for the Knesset Committee to debate Netanyahu’s request for immunity.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.