November 25, 2018


Former IDF head spooks Israel's entire political spectrum (Mazal Mualem, November 21, 2018, Al Monitor)

So far, Netanyahu himself has been behind this policy of ignoring Gantz. But all that finally came to an end this week when a Channel 10 poll showed Gantz winning about 15 seats. Another poll, this one by Hadashot, made matters worse, asking, "Who would you like to see as defense minister?" It gave Gantz a significant edge over Netanyahu (28% to just 7%) on the very day that the prime minister officially took over as defense minister, following Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman's resignation.

Gantz has not yet officially announced that he will launch a new party. He has remained silent about his plans, leaving the feeling that all options are open to him, including the possibility of joining one of the existing center-left parties. On the other hand, the more flattering the polls are to him, the greater his appetite will become. In other words, the chances of him joining an existing party before the next election are dwindling.

Netanyahu knows how to read between the lines. He has a deep understanding of trends in the polls, regardless of whether the results are made public or if they are gleaned from privately ordered surveys. He certainly knows that his image as Mr. Security suffered a devastating blow as a result of recent events in Gaza. The trouble came to a climax last week, when Netanyahu came under a barrage of criticism from the leaders of the other right-wing parties. Liberman resigned and while Education Minister Naftali Bennett (HaBayit HaYehudi) may have remained in the government, he thinks that Netanyahu failed.

As a former IDF chief of staff, Gantz is no less a security expert than Netanyahu. On the other hand, he is not tainted by corruption and is regarded by the public as a suitable candidate. Even when Netanyahu was at his lowest point in the polls, there was no one who could challenge his high levels of public support or question his suitability as prime minister or "Mr. Security." Gantz can.

Posted by at November 25, 2018 7:33 AM