Report: Former IDF chief of staff Gantz can run for prime minister

Gantz did not respond to the report, and he has never publicly expressed interest in a political career.

October 8, 2015 16:12
1 minute read.
Benny Gantz

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Former IDF chief of staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz can legally enter politics and challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the premiership, despite a law requiring a three-year cooling-off period for former senior security officials, according to a report Thursday in The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister publication Ma’ariv Sof Hashavua.

The law, which was passed in 2007, has prevented IDF chiefs of staff and other generals from going straight from the army to the Knesset like many of their predecessors.

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It was thought to bar Gantz, who left his post in February, from entering politics until February 2018.

But political analyst Tal Schneider revealed in Ma’ariv that the law contains a loophole that applies to Gantz.

Because a general election was held March 17 after he left his post, he can run in the next general election, even if three years have not passed.

Gantz did not respond to the article, and he has never publicly expressed interest in a political career. But he was a popular IDF chief, and polls have shown Israelis want a leader with military experience.

Although he has publicly criticized Netanyahu’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal, Gantz has never revealed his political leanings.

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog is required to set a date for the next leadership race in his party this month. According to party bylaws, the race must be held by May 2016, unless the bylaws are changed, which is a possibility.

Former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi, who preceded Gantz in the post, is considering challenging Herzog, as is Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who was an IAF fighter pilot.

A Panels Research poll broadcast on the Knesset Channel Thursday found that only 20 percent of respondents give Netanyahu a good grade on his handling of the wave of Palestinian violence, while 29% said his handling was so-so and 50% said it was poor.

The poll of 500 respondents representing a statistical sample of adult Israelis with a ±4.3% margin of error, found that 64% are afraid to get hurt in a terrorist attack.

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