Israel's wildly proliferating and popular center parties are, as yet, distinguished only by their leaders' dashing military records, blue eyes and banal self-help cliches
Benny Gantz, the Israel Defense Forces’ 20th chief of general staff, is the founder and current head of the Hosen L’Yisrael, or Israel Resilience, party.
Gantz was born in 1959 in Kfar Ahim, a moshav in south-central Israel. He was drafted into the Israeli military in 1977, where he served in the Paratroopers Brigade. In 1979, Gantz graduated Bahad 1, the military’s Officers School, and returned to the Paratroopers Brigade, where he served as a platoon, company, and battalion commander.
Gantz went on to occupy several commanding posts, including of the Israel Air Force’s elite Shaldag unit, the Paratroopers brigade, the Judea and Samaria Division and of the Northern Command.
During his service, Gantz obtained a Bachelor’s degree in History from Tel Aviv University, a Master’s degree in Political Science from University of Haifa, and a second Master’s degree in National Resources Management from the National Defense University in the United States.
Gantz was named the IDF chief of general staff in 2011, replacing Gabi Ashkenazi, a post in which he served until 2015. During his tenure, Gantz promoted Orna Barbivai to major-general, making her the first woman in the military’s general staff. During his term Gantz also commanded the military during the 2014 Gaza war.
Since retiring from the military, Gantz co-founded a social movement called Pnima.
In 2018, Gantz announced that he would run in the Knesset general election, establishing Hosen L’Yisrael. In his first and only public remarks, Gantz criticized the controversial Nation-State Law, vowing to amend it to emphasize equality and the special connection between Israel and its Druze minority.
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According to new polls released Wednesday, 31 percent of Israeli prefer Benny Gantz to Benjamin Netanyahu as PM, while 42 percent favor Netanyahu
The people won’t give up on the illusion that the prime minister needs to be the military commander that will pick up the phone at 3 A.M
If Benny Gantz’s predecessor as chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, joins the slate, he is expected to receive the No. 2 slot, or at least join the cabinet if the party enters the government
The former chief of staff’s pledge to amend the nation-state law embodies the choice between patriotism and nationalism that awaits Israelis on April 9
Former military chief to crowd of Israeli Druze protesters: 'You're fighting for your home, keep going' ■ Former Mossad chief: 'I believe in Gantz as a leader' ■ Bennett and Shaked's new party: 'He's teamed up with the left'
Despite attacks from Netanyahu's cronies, former Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz is running neck-and-neck with the prime minister
Three months before election, three points separate the prime minister and the former defense official seen as his top challenger
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Gantz was named army chief after Yoav Gallant was eliminated as a candidate following a report that he'd taken over land illegally
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As army chief Benny Gantz fought for raising the defense budget and against bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. But the halo of having been chief of staff isn’t sufficient to win the election.
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Why are secular Jews in Israel prepared to believe in Benny Gantz, but not in God, and why are religious Jews prepared to position him alongside the original God?
Polls predict Gantz will garner up to 16 seats in the Knesset, positioning him as a threat to Netanyahu, who brushes off move by saying he 'doesn't interfere with how left divides votes'
The two are looking into joining forces ahead of April 9 elections, but discussions focus on setting up two separate parties to run as a unified list
Benny Gantz rules out the brand 'left' in any guise, eschewing both Zionist Union and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, but not rejecting notion of running with people outside established parties, such as fellow former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon