Skip to main content

Benny Gantz fighting for his political life

Although officers who served with Benny Gantz — currently Israel's defense minister — when he was the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff are urging him to drop out of the upcoming March elections, the head of the Blue and White party is not about to surrender.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, speaks during a visit to the Druze village of Julis in northern Israel, on February 23, 2021. - Israel will hold its fourth general election in less than two years, on March 23. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo by JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)

The most ego-driven battle being waged in the charged Israeli political arena is not taking place on the right, where Gideon Saar and Naftali Bennett, the respective leaders of the New Hope and Yamina parties, are going at each other tooth and nail. It is not even between them and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is busy trying to steal voters from his two challengers, as usual. The most furious battle is under way on the center left — not between a handful of small parties fighting for sufficient votes to get elected to the Knesset — but within just one party on that spectrum, Blue and White. The fight is between the former military chief of staff and current defense minister, Benny Gantz, and his close friends on the one hand and his former voters on the other.

The Blue and White party that Lt. Gen. (res.) Gantz formed just over two years ago once was good for 33 or more Knesset seats, which made it the sole viable alternative to Netanyahu’s Likud through three consecutive election campaigns, but polls now place it at the bottom of the heap. On a good day it is polling at four or five seats for the March 23 elections, and on a bad day it does not even cross the four-seat electoral threshold for the 120-seat Knesset.

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 for annual access.