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2021 elections in Israel: The revival of Benny Gantz

Pre-election public opinion polls estimated that Blue and White under Defense Minister Benny Gantz would fail to pass the Knesset-entry threshold, but in reality the party has apparently garnered 8 Knesset seats.
Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a Cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset, Jerusalem, May 24, 2020.

The relief on the face of Blue and White party leader and Defense Minister Benny Gantz was almost palatable as he entered a hotel conference center in suburban Tel Aviv on the evening of March 23 following a grueling, tense election day.

Although TV exit polls were giving Gantz’s centrist party seven to eight Knesset seats, just one year after it swept up the equivalent of 33 seats in Israel’s previous elections, he could not have hoped for a better result. “I was a fighter and I will continue to fight for Israeli society,” the former military leader pledged to the activists gathered in the hall. “Starting tomorrow, I will do everything to unite the bloc of change,” he said, referring to the group of parties dedicated to ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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