Benny Gantz: a former Israeli general with big political ambitions

Benny Gantz, who quit Israel’s war cabinet Sunday, is a centrist politician with dreams of toppling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

The former army chief and defence minister had little political experience when he launched the centre-right National Union Party in 2019 with the explicit goal of ousting Netanyahu from power.

Five years later, the silver-haired Gantz is looking to ride a wave of mounting public outrage over Netanyahu’s failure to return hostages held in the Gaza Strip more than eight months after the war with Hamas broke out.

The war began with the Palestinian militants’ October 7 attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also abducted 251 hostages during their attack, 116 of whom are still held in Gaza, including 41 the army says are dead.

Days later, Gantz, who turned 65 on Sunday, joined a war cabinet chaired by Netanyahu and became a minister without portfolio in his rival’s administration, labelled the “Unity Government”.

“Israel above all,” Gantz, one of the main opposition leaders at the time, said on social media.

But his efforts failed and Netanyahu managed to form a coalition with the support of far-right parties.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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