New Polls Show This Former General Could Be Netanyahu's Biggest Threat

If former-IDF chief Gantz was to take over Israel's main left-wing party it would boost its support, poll says

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the General Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Gantz, who might now enter politics, st the end of his military career, February 2015
חיים צח / לע"מ

A poll published on Wednesday in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said the center-left Zionist Union would become more popular if it changed its leadership, pointing to a former Israel Defense Forces cheif as the key to increasing support.

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The Zionist Union would get 24 seats, out of the 120-seat Knesset, if it were led by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, according to the poll. If the party was to remain under the leadership of Avi Gabbay and Gantz ultimately decided to stay out of politics, the Zionist Union would only get 15 seats, the poll added.

According to the same survey, if Gantz was to form a brand-new party it would get 14 seats, just marginally less than the Zionist Union under the current leadership. That would make it the third biggest-party, after Likud, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, with 29 seats, and Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid, with 15 seats. In that scenario, the Zionist Union led by Avi Gabbay would only get 10 seats. 

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However, a possible entry into politics by Benny Gantz doesn't change the big picture of the blocs, Yedioth Ahronoth said.

If Gantz chooses not to go into politics, Likud would get 33 seats, Zionist Union 15, Joint Arab List 12, Habayit Hayehudi  7, United Torah Judaism 7, Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu would get 6, Meretz 6, Yisrael Beitenu led by Avigdor Lieberman 6, Shas 5, and a new party led by Orly Levy- Abekasis would get 5. A new party led by Moshe Yaalon wouldn't pass the threshold, according to the poll.

A poll reported last week found that Benjamin Netanyahu remains the most popular candidate to be Prime Minister, but Gantz was in second place, even though by a wide margin.