The Enigma of Benny Gantz: His Own Sister Doesn't Know His Political Views

Haaretz called Shoshi Inbar, who is number 118 on Gantz and Lapid's Kahol Lavan, to ask her what her little brother and his party stand for

Benny Gantz speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2019.
\ ANDREAS GEBERT/ REUTERS

Hello, Ms. Shoshi Inbar. This is Nir Gontarz, a reporter with Haaretz. How are you?

Fine.

Shosh, I’m calling because I saw you are contending for a Knesset seat with Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) party.

It’s nice to hear that description.

Yes, you’re now a contender for the Knesset.

I know – 118th place [on the Kahol Lavan ticket]. It’s very distinguished.

Yes, ma’am. Any place on a list does honor to its holder. But for decades you belonged to the Labor Party. Right?

True. But my leaving had nothing to do with Kahol Lavan. My leaving the Labor Party isn’t connected to Kahol Lavan.

When did you leave the Labor Party?

Two years ago.

How did you reach the Kahol Lavan list?

I can’t really talk about it. I get clobbered when I give interviews.

Ma'am, you’re a candidate for the Knesset now. I know you were a major activist with the Labor Party and Na'amat [the Labor-affiliated women's organization]. How did you get to Kahol Lavan, and not some other party?

How do you know that? Did you Wikipedia me?

Shoshi Inbar, elder sister of Benny Gantz, who heads the new Kahol Lavan party along with former Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, February 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

No. Is there a Wikipedia page on you?

I don’t know.

So, what is your connection with Kahol Lavan?

Look, I’m connected with their manifesto.

Okay.

And I’m connected with its chairman.

What’s the connection?

I’m Benny’s big sister.

Okay, that explains it.

But that isn’t why I became a candidate on its list. I got that by virtue of my activities. There were people who recommended me. I didn’t ask for it.

I don’t understand.

Because I left my public activity years ago and I don’t sever ties with people, some said "At least put her among the last 10 people" – a very respectable position.

Who recommended you?

I don’t even know.

What does it mean to you to be a contender for the Knesset? Does it oblige you?

Not at all. I have to be loyal to the way of Kahol Lavan and I have no problem with that because it’s the right way. More than the Labor Party’s way.

It sounds from what you say that you know what Kahol Lavan’s way is.

More or less. Not entirely.

On the left there’s Yael German – formerly of Meretz – and on the right there’s Moshe Ya'alon, [Zvi] Hauser and Yoaz Hendel, [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s former right hand.

Yoaz Hendel is one of the reporters I read first when I get the paper.

Are you closer in your positions to German or to Hendel?

To German. But I like clever people.

What actually is Kahol Lavan’s way?

I didn’t participate in closed meetings with them but simple, correct logic says that the State of Israel has many facets. There are people like this and like that, and what represents them is the connection that can exist between them.

What you said is lovely but ultimately a party has to have a path – a political line, for instance.

I imagine you’ll hear more this week. But that connection makes me very glad. Why shouldn’t I meet Yoaz Hendel for coffee? I had the same education as him. I simply went in different directions when I grew up. Israel isn’t one homogeneous body; people came to it from 70 countries.

As Benny’s big sister, is he more like Ya'alon or more Hendelian?

I have no idea. He was a soldier his whole life. I kept telling him: "At least tell me whom you voted for" – and he’d say [nothing].

So you don’t even know if he leans this way or that?

I really don’t. The subject never even came up for discussion.

That’s doubly weird: once, because you don’t know that as his sister, and twice, [you don't know] as a member of his party and candidate of that party to the Knesset.

Okay. He hasn’t met with me yet, one on one. What do you want? I just don’t know. We'll see together. Last week was full of upheavals and everything is still confused. I believe you’ll know shortly.

Okay, ma’am. Thank you very much.

You’re welcome. I hope you quote me word for word.

I quote word for word.

Then fine. What could I have said already. Did I say bad things? I didn’t say bad things.

Okay, ma’am. Thanks very much.

All the best.

Bye.