Israel Election: Former Army Chief Gadi Eisenkot Joins Three-way Alliance With Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa'ar

After months of speculation over which party the household name might join, Gadi Eisenkot will be placed third on the joint slate right behind Sa'ar, dubbed the National Unity Party

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
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A photo of Gadi Eisenkot standing at a podium, with his right hand gesturing during a speech delivered last month at the INSS center.
Former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot announced is election bid alongside partners Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa'ar on Sunday.Credit: Hadas Parush
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Former Israeli army chief Gadi Eisenkot announced Sunday he is joining a three-way alliance with Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa'ar ahead of November elections, dubbed the National Unity Party, following months of speculation over whether the household name would enter the political arena.

Since he left his post in 2009, Eisenkot has held talks with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and other party heads, while mulling the establishment of his own party. Eisenkot served as army chief between 2015 and 2019, under then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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On Sunday, Gantz said that "the union will form a base for a … broad and stable government that will put an end to the ongoing political crisis, will heal the rifts within Israeli society and advance Israel's national interests regarding security, economy, homeland security and education."

Matan Kahana also announced Sunday that he is leaving Ayelet Shaked's Yamina party and joining the three-way alliance, weeks after he denounced Gantz and Sa'ar's party as "an empty vessel." He will be joining the alliance as Eisenkot's candidate, and placed on its ninth sפot.

Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana (center), following Eisenkot, announced Sunday that he would be joining Gideon Sa'ar and Benny Gant'z election list.Credit: Gil Eliahu

Gantz and Sa’ar reserved three spots on their ticket for Eisenkot and whoever he brings with him: the third, ninth and 15th or 16th spots. Eisenkot will likely bring in former IDF spokesman and current commentator for the Kan public broadcasting network, Brig. Gen. (res.) Ronen Manelis. The alliance will focus on shifting rightwards as opposed to drawing votes from the left, in a bid to challenge opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud to form a right-wing coalition.

"I wish the best of luck to my friends Matan Kahana in his new path and Gadi Eisenkot for joining politics," she wrote on Twitter, dubbing it as "good news for all left voters. We will make sure that in any government that is formed, they will not be able to promote their shared vision with Gantz for the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Sa'ar wrote on Eisenkot on Twitter: "I first met Gadi Eisenkot as cabinet secretary in Ariel Sharon's first government, when he served as the Military Secretary to the Prime Minister during the second Intifada. Gadi is a man of values, serious, honest, statesemanly, a Zionist in body and soul and devoted to Israeli security and society."

The three-way alliance is expanding its ranks to challenge Yesh Atid's dominance among the anti-Netanyahu bloc. In recent election polls, the Sa'ar-Gantz merger earned up to 12 seats, half of projections for Lapid's party.

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